‘Tis the field day season

25 February, 2019

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February and March see the roll out of field days across the industry, with good attendance as well as a good mix of things to look at.

In the south there have been several field days looking at irrigation management systems, nutrition, herbicide and disease, as well as beneficial insects being deployed by drones (see image 1).

With the threat of Whitefly late in the growing season potentially becoming a problem in cotton, several trials have been conducted throughout the industry to look at the effects IPM can play to reduce these numbers. These trials have been incorporating the release of beneficial wasps into crops using drones. The field days looked at the release of these beneficial wasps and also were also an opportunity for discussion around different programs to keep the Whitefly under control (see image 2).

With the release of Bayer’s XtendFlex® in a few years, herbicide management days have been held across the industry to look at the performance of these new herbicides under both irrigated and dryland systems. The field walks have given growers and agronomists the opportunity to see how these products work and also discuss the weed control options, limitations and drift management practices.

As we transverse towards the XtendFlex® varieties in the next few years, the last of the Bollgard® 3 Roundup Ready varieties have been placed in trials in Southern NSW and also in the Lower Namoi. Field walks have been held to show both growers and agronomists how these varieties are performing. As potential replacements for Sicot 707B3F and Sicot 714B3F, the CSX lines have shown some promise in the evaluation trials, with better fibre quality and also high yield potential. As next season could see lower water allocations, these new lines could be an option for growers to grow a variety that is short in season length compared to Sicot 746B3F or Sicot 748B3F, while still yielding well.

CSD’s extension team (both CottonInfo and E&D) came together after CSD’s annual conference to discuss how the trials on CSD Farms were performing. Under the FastStartTM program there are a few potential products that look good to help in the establishment of cotton under hard conditions. These products and management trials were also open to the industry in February when the Lower Namoi Cotton Growers Association and CSD held a field day with over 100 people in attendance, with growers coming from far North Queensland, Northern Territory and also a bus load from the University of Sydney. Topics on the day included residual herbicide trials, plant uniformity trials, moisture attractants, delayed flowering, Verticillium management and XtendFlex® varieties (see image 3).

By Jorian Millyard, Extension & Development Manager – NSW