Progress report on Central and Southern harvest

04 May, 2005

___An update on cotton picking in central and southern NSW, the first season of Bollgard® II technology, indicates that using yields as a yardstick, the technology have been extremely successful._

p. Craig McDonald, CSD Extension and Development Agronomist at Narromine, said early indications are very good as far as yield potential goes. p. Right: Craig McDonald and Neil Mill in a crop of Sicot 71BR at Narromine p. Speaking on the weekly CSD Web on Wednesday video, he said a lot of crops would yield better than four bales to the acre or 10 bales/hectare. p. He said both Bollgard® II and conventional crops have benefited from lighter late-season insect heliothis pressure, despite some areas reporting fairly heavy egg pressure during the season, up to 200 plus eggs per metre. p. “The Bollgard stood up to it fairly well. There was a fair bit of spraying on the conventional to keep control of it, so there has been some fruit loss there, but certainly the warm end to the season has really helped. p. __“We had a very good start, quite warm conditions, some people were able to plant in the 2nd last week in September. The crops got off to a reasonable start with a couple of cold snaps, but generally got through pretty well and its been a very mild season. p. “We haven’t really had the extremes of heat compared to the last two seasons, which really does help cotton development. Any crops that had full water and have been watered on time have done extremely well,” he said. p. Left: Ash Harris and Rob Tuck in Sicot 71BR at “Newhaven” Narromine p. Reviewing water prospects for next season, he noted, however, that Burrendong Dam was at only 15 per cent of capacity at present, with Wyangala Dam even lower at about 9 per cent of capacity. p. “Forecasts for winter rainfall are pretty good – 70 per cent chance of better than average rainfall — so based on that prediction, prospects have to be improving for next season, and with an increase in price we could see pretty well full production in this area, given a reasonable allocation of water. p. “To sum up, very good indicative yields so far; quality certainly looks very good, the cotton is a brilliant white colour, and we’ve had ideal weather for picking so far.

“Unfortunately, there has been quite a bit of 2-4D damage in the Macquarie Valley particularly that has severely affected yields across some fairly big areas, putting a dampener on what has generally been a very good season,” Craig McDonald said.

p. Further Information:* Craig McDonald*