FastStart Cotton Program delivering benefits to growers and industry

27 August, 2018

Updates

FastStart is a collaboration between Syngenta and Cotton Seed Distributors aimed at improving cotton crop establishment by providing growers with information, resources and support from pre-planting, right through to around 70 days after emergence. This is generally the period up to the first flower.

Ahead of this season, the FastStart website (www.faststartcotton.com.au) has had a refresh, with new information and tools added to the existing resources, including:

• A cotton planting rate calculator.
• A red-amber-green traffic light system that can be localised for your area, taking into consideration soil temperatures and forecast average temperatures, to give you advice on when to plant.
• A replant calculator to compare the potential establishment if you are considering replanting your crop.
• A variety performance comparison to compare cotton varieties by year and region.
• A variety performance guide to analyse the performance of a selected variety under different growing regimes for yield and fibre quality.
• The FastStart Soil Temperature Network, which uses soil temperature data from a network of weather stations across the cotton industry to guide planting decisions.
• A handy planting checklist (“Ten tips to get your cotton off to a FastStart”).

FastStart Accreditation Course

The FastStart Accreditation Course aims to equip advisors (e.g. consultants, agronomists and rural retailers) and on-farm staff in the cotton industry with the principles and tools to facilitate best practice cotton crop establishment. Developed to be completed with support from the FastStart Cotton Establishment Guide, the program looks to improve the knowledge base around making planting decisions and achieving the best possible plant stand.

Consisting of 50 questions, the course is also part of the Crop Consultants Australia (CCA) accreditation program, whereby members can gain points by successfully completing the course. Non-members are also welcome to complete the course, with the suggestion to include it as part of an on-farm induction for new employees, and/or an upskilling information update for existing farm workers.

The course is currently available on the home page of the FastStart website. It is recommended to have the FastStart Cotton Establishment Guide on hand – it can be downloaded from the website or is available from either CSD or Syngenta. Once the course is completed it will be marked and your result will be emailed to you.

By Craig McDonald, Extension & Development Agronomist – Central NSW