Central NSW update

17 December, 2018

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With a nil general security allocation in the Macquarie Valley and carryover water cut back to 70%, the area planted to cotton has been reduced accordingly. There are approximately 19,000 hectares of irrigated cotton and 1,000 hectares of dryland cotton planted in the Macquarie Valley this season. Burrendong Dam is down to 16% with 224,768 ML capacity.

There are around 13,000 hectares of cotton planted in the Lachlan Valley which includes some new cotton hectares in the Forbes district. The cotton area in Central and Southern NSW is 37% down on last year.

The Bourke region was unable to plant any cotton due to lack of water availability. This follows a reduced planting last year due to low water.

SOS Macquarie Valley

SOS Macquarie Valley is a Macquarie Valley NSW based organisation that was set up to educate spray applicators about the risks of spray drift. It is backed by the NSW Environmental Protection Agency and could be seen as a model for helping to eliminate spray drift and damage to non target crops and susceptible plants. It is funded through a number of avenues including local business contributions. It is not just cotton specific; it covers spray application in all crops.

Education about correct application techniques is the major focus of the program.

There have been a number of events and activities held so far including:
• A series of BBQ and Beers meetings with presentations to get people talking about what can be done to eliminate spray drift. The importance of not spraying in weather inversions was a key message. There were several hundred attendees at these meetings.
• A two day spray application field day with workshops at the Trangie Agricultural Research Station.
• An extensive water testing program to test spray water quality across the valley.
• A survey of agronomists, farmers, consultants and applicators to test the current level of knowledge.
• An accreditation course for advisors – with a list of accredited advisors made available.

More information can be found at www.sosmacquarievalley.com.au

By Craig McDonald, Extension & Development Agronomist – Central NSW