Alternative and renewable energy sources, including solar for powering cotton production, were hot topics at this week’s (24 and 25 February) CottonInfo Big Days Out at St George, QLD and Gunnedah, NSW.

The days attracted 60 and 80 participants respectively and visitors were keen to hear from experienced growers, energy researchers, auditors, consultants and system providers.

Ian and Anne Brimblecombe hosted the first day at their St George farm, “Burgorah”, while day two was on Scott Morgan’s property “Kensal Green”, Gunnedah.

AgriRisk High Achiever of the Year,…

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An energy expenditure that had been climbing by around 10 per cent per year coupled with concerns about climate change have prompted St George cotton irrigators Ian and Anne Brimblecombe, “Burgorah”, to install solar panels which generate 100kW of electricity.

Their 400 250-watt solar panels will soon be joined by a supplementary bank of panels which will enable a 70kW fixed-speed pump to be powered by solar alone on sunny days.

Mr Brimblecombe (pictured) has also explored the economics of floating solar panels for any future expansion of his solar capacity.


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Gunnedah farmer Scott Morgan (pictured) has slashed the amount of money he spends on electricity used to irrigate cotton on his property, “Kensal Green”, by investing in solar and by reducing the amount of energy he uses to pump water for his crops.

In a program which started five years ago, Mr Morgan has installed a travelling irrigator fed by a two-kilometre pipeline which has eliminated the need for two lift pumps, replaced a fixed-speed pump with a variable-speed unit on one of his two bores, and installed a 9.6kW solar array.

“I initially began investigating ways to…

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Amanda Thomas, CottonInfo regional development officer for the Macquarie Valley writes:

Almost 20 years ago, the Macquarie Cotton Growers Association, in conjunction with the Narromine and Warren Shire Councils and the NSW DPI Fisheries began the annual release of fingerlings into the Macquarie River, to help build the population of native fish.

20 years later and the annual release is still taking place, marked by a considerable improvement in the numbers of native fish. Each year around the same time, we alternate putting in Murray Cod and Golden Perch fingerlings, with…

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The Department of Environment has been busy over the last year making new greenhouse gas emissions reduction methods available for use under the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF). A number of these are designed to benefit the farming sector, including a ‘fertiliser efficiency in irrigated cotton’ method released in December 2014.  

The ERF is the federal government’s centrepiece for emissions reduction, and will be used to purchase lowest cost abatement. Participation in the ERF is voluntary and open to everyone. Interested parties must establish a project which must follow…

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When water is limited growers may need to change from their normal irrigation practice to optimise yield, quality and water use efficiency. As with fully irrigated production, the aim is to limit or minimise the amount of stress on the crop. Cotton’s response to water stress depends on the stage of growth that stress occurs, the degree of stress and the length of time the stress is present.

In order to determine when to irrigate under limited water conditions it is important to monitor both crop water use and crop development as the timing of stress can have significant impacts on…

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Many crops, particularly in the northern regions, are fast approaching cutout. Cutout occurs when the plant has 4-5 nodes above white flower (NAWF) and generally occurs late January to mid February. This is the time of the last effective flower which can be used to plan irrigations after cutout.  End of season water requirements can be determined by estimating the number of days until defoliation and predicting the amount of water likely to be used over this period.

Last effective flower and cut out dates

The date of the Last Effective Flower can be used to determine target…

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How will the plant respond in cloudy weather? This blog from CottonInfo technical specialists Susan Maas and Sally Ceeney (with input from researchers Stephen Yeates, Michael Bange & Ian Rochestor) investigates...

Cloudy weather and rainy days can impact plant growth. Low temperatures can lead to establishment issues and unusually cloudy or rainy conditions can change the look of the plant - plants may produce bigger leaves in response to generally low radiation. Root development can also be affected, as root systems do not need to seek out moisture at depth.  


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