Macintyre Dryland Cotton Shows Promise

14 January, 2009

Having passed the mid-point of the season, dryland cotton crops in the Macintyre Valley are showing a lot of potential, despite a challenging season to date.

CSD’s Macintyre Valley based extension and development agronomist David Kelly said while limited planting opportunities meant only small areas of dryland cotton were planted, these crops had the capacity to produce above-average yields with further rainfall.

“We’ve had a very changeable season to date – some cool periods early, some very warm spells and a bulk of the rain has come via storms – meaning it has been intense and patchy.

“These dryland cotton crops have developed very well during these conditions and aided by low sucking insect pressure, have accumulated very high fruit numbers, suggesting a good yield potential provided we get some rain during January and February to finish them off,” Mr Kelly said.

President of the Macintyre Valley Cotton Growers Association, Ben Coulton, planted 300 ha of double-skip dryland cotton in late September on his North Star property ‘Getta Getta’ following some good rainfall earlier that month.

“That was the only planting opportunity we had – if we had missed that we wouldn’t have been growing dryland cotton at all,” Mr Coulton said.

Aside from some minor falls, the only beneficial in-crop rainfall on Ben’s crop was 100mm in mid November – most of which ran off as the profile was already full.

Ben is growing a mixture of varieties including the premium fibre variety Sicala 350B, and Siokra 24B, and is also cooperating with a CSD large-scale, replicated Bollgard II variety trial.

David Kelly said this was the third year of testing CSD’s specialist dryland Bollgard II varieties at ‘Getta Getta’ and the program was yielding some excellent data.