A wide window of opportunity for dryland cotton

12 October, 2017


With the very dry conditions that most regions have experienced now beginning to wane, many growers are now considering their future cropping opportunities. While soil profiles are still less perfect, conditions can and do change rapidly at this time of year.

The increased planting window flexibility afforded through CSD’s varieties containing Bollgard® 3 technology provides plenty of planting opportunities for growers in the northern and western cropping zones. The best dryland cotton crops grown last season were planted late and avoided some of the really hot weather. Your agronomist can guide you through the planting decision process, but planting into late November or even early December should not be considered too late to plant, if you are west of the Newell Highway.

Dryland cotton is an ideal choice for paddocks that have had a long history of winter crop production. Cotton provides an excellent disease break and also allows control of many of the weed species that become troublesome in winter cropping farming systems.

Cotton is particularly hardy and its indeterminate growth habit gives the plant resilience to the heat and variable rainfall that characterises dryland cropping systems.

It’s also well suited to zero till systems, and can be planted into winter cereal and sorghum stubble, provided that harmful residual herbicides have broken down during the fallow. Cotton growing costs are quite predictable and in many cases, the major costs are delayed until near harvest time.

Returns for lint and seed are still relatively high and have proved to be quite stable compared to sorghum over the past 4 or 5 years.

CSD is once again offering the Dryland Production Protection Partnership – a “no pick = seed credit” incentive to participating growers for the 2017/18 season. If you don’t pick your crop (excluding crops removed through hail damage) CSD will provide a dollar for dollar credit toward next season’s cotton seed. The program is only available in selected varieties, and growers must have registered by 30th November 2017.

For more information or to register for the program, visit: www.csd.net.au/dppp

For more information on growing dryland cotton, visit www.acresofopportunity.com.au or contact your local CSD Extension and Development Agronomist.

By Rob Eveleigh, Extension & Development Agronomist – Namoi Valley.