Cotton trial program steams ahead

06 November, 2009

Cotton Seed Distributors (CSD) has embarked on an ambitious program of variety evaluation and agronomic trials in the 2009-10 season.

Speaking on this week’s Web on Wednesday broadcast, CSD’s Wee Waa based extension and development agronomist Rob Eveleigh said the organisation had planned 63 large-scale replicated variety trials spanning from the Burdekin in the north to Griffith in the South.

“At this stage not all of those are planted because several of those dryland trials, particularly on the Darling Downs, around Moree and Goondiwindi have not yet been planted but we should be able to plant those trials given a rainfall event,” he said.

“This year we cover the full range of cotton-growing regions including a dryland trial in the Spring Ridge region – we haven’t had any cotton trials in the Spring Ridge area for quite some time,” he said.

Rob Eveleigh said 48 of the trials were fully irrigated, 12 dryland and four with limited irrigation water.

“The limited-water trials are where the crop has been planted in wide row configurations and will receive a limited number of irrigations,” Mr Eveleigh said.

Due to a tough start to the growing season, Rob Eveleigh described the progress of the trials as a ‘mixed bag’.

“We certainly had some establishment problems in many of the southern trials as it has been quite cold after planting but we haven’t had to replant any of the trials at this stage except for a couple of trials in the Goondiwindi region which succumbed to the cold weather,” he said.

“In some of the northern trials in the Emerald region the trials are progressing quite well and are actually approaching squaring and should have flowers fairly shortly,” he said.

While there were close to 10 new CSIRO-bred lines under evaluation in CSD trials this season, according to Rob Eveleigh most attention was surrounding two new Bollgard II Roundup Ready Flex varieties.

“The two lines are known as experimental 323 and 326,” he said.

“The 323 line will probably be known as Sicot 74BRF and it’s a line that CSIRO have selected that appears to have quite good performance in the northern and western regions where its out-yielded the standard, Sicot 71BRF,” he said.

“The other line, experimental 326 is actually a premium quality line and it’s a variety that probably doesn’t have the same top-end yield performance as the Sicot 71BRF but it does have exceptional fibre quality in the form of length and strength,” he said.

Rob Eveleigh said CSD is also running several cotton agronomic trials.

“We’ve established a number of insecticide seed treatment trials from Dalby in the north, down through Moree, Narrabri, down as far south as Warren and we’re getting good data from those,” he said.

“We’re also running some row configuration and plant population trials at a number of sites, and we’ve also got some nutrient trials where we’ve put Boron and Zinc coatings on seed and we’re assessing those at a number of sites in the cotton growing regions as well,” he said.

Rob Eveleigh said any growers and consultants who want to look at the trials during the season could contact their local extension and development agronomist and the results from all trials would be published in the annual trials results book.

6 November 09

Further Information: Rob Eveleigh 0267 950000

Above: CSD agronomist Rob Eveleigh loads a planter with seed for one of the 63 large scale variety trials being conducted across the industry in 2009-10.