For the month of January, the top NRM tip is: think beyond the crop, consider your surrounding natural areas.

To improve the abundance and diversity of natural predators and pollinators (like the European honey bee), consider native vegetation as part of your cropping system. Research shows that native vegetation along field edges can increase pest control in the field, and if pressure is still high, pollination can reduce the yield loss.

Native vegetation helps natural predators, such as insects, birds bats, frogs, lizards and some small mammals, persist in the landscape…

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Dr Paul Grundy of QDAF and CottonInfo talks first irrigation in a water challenged 2019-20 season for Central QLD growers:

Last season highlighted a diversity of opinions and consternation around first irrigation decisions, as well as whole-of-season irrigation strategies, with the spectre of a dry season ahead and limited water.

With another limited water season ahead of us, this newsletter aims to help you identify the range of things that are now in play which will hopefully enable you to make effective decisions that suit your farm, water supply and planted area.

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Considering planting dryland cotton this season? In this article, QLD DAF's Paul Grundy talks about the environmental factors that impact cotton establishment in dryland cotton.

When you break it down, seedling establishment is dependent on two things:

The placement of the seed into soil with adequate moisture (and temperature) so that enough surface contact occurs to take up water. The ability of the germinating seed to emerge, which depends on the root tip being able to penetrate the underlying soil to begin establishing a root system whilst the hypercotyl has… Read More

Mike Bange, Senior Principal Research Scientist, CSIRO and James Quinn, Marketing & Extension Lead, CSD are often asked questions regarding limited water decisions. Here are their answers to commonly asked questions:

Which configurations yield highest?

Fully irrigated solid planted cotton will out-yield wider row configurations on a per hectare basis NOT necessarily on a per ML basis. (Figure 1).

As water becomes limited skip row configurations can become an option as they function by increasing the volume of soil that plants have to explore, providing a bigger…

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Defoliation:

CottonInfo's team of Regional Extension Officers surveyed key consultants in their regions to gain insight into how they make the decision to defoliate, to maximise yield and fibre quality. Below is a snapshot of the commentary provided.

Top tips for the best results? Ensure the crop and the field are ready to defoliate. Ensure moisture and N have been run down in crop as it makes the job easier. Check your crop regularly. Watch weather forecasts closely, particularly temperature. Try to defoliate when it's warm. Use weather to your advantage (… Read More

In this blog, Richard Sequeira provides information on silverleaf whitefly (SLW) and solenopsis mealybug for cotton growers in the 2017-18 season.

Whitefly

The TIMS committee has approved a 30-day window for the application of pyriproxifen (Admiral) to control whitefly (SLW) in all cotton growing districts/areas in Australia, beginning in the 2017-18 season:

Q: Why is a 30-day window necessary?

Pyriproxyfen (Admiral) is a cornerstone product for SLW control; it is currently under significant resistance selection pressure.  Testing by DAF researchers in 2017 found… Read More

With very hot conditions forecast across cotton growing valleys, CSIRO researchers Dr Mike Bange and Dr Rose Brodrick talk about managing heat stress in your cotton:

Yield and quality can be adversely affected by periods of extreme heat (daily maximum temperatures greater than about 35ºC).

High temperatures during the day or night will reduce yield by limiting the availability of assimilates to support fruit growth causing shedding of squares and young bolls and lowering the number of seeds set per boll.

This in turn may cause crops to grow rank…

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Cotton growers are invited to participate in a water productivity benchmarking study, from the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Agriculture Division, over the 2017-18 season.

The 2017-18 survey, which is delivered with support from the Cotton Research and Development Corporation (CRDC), follows on from similar surveys in 2006-07, 2008-09 and 2012-13, which found that the cotton industry has achieved a 40 per cent increase in water productivity since the study conducted by Tennakoon and Milroy (2003) (0.79 bales per megalitre) 10 years earlier.

Water productivity…

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by QDAF researcher, Dr Paul Grundy:

There are a number of things to consider for nitrogen, first irrigation and pest management that will have an important bearing on crop development and yield potential in the CQ environment. The way in which these factors interact depends on the weather both leading up to and after operations take place. Critically these interactions vary significantly depending on whether a crop is sown early (August to early Sept) or late (late November and December).

In this edition we will focus on nitrogen and water interactions, leaving insect…

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In 2001, in partnership with Greening Australia and the Australian Government's Envirofund, cotton growers Geoff and Ally O'Neill planted eight hectares of native trees and shrubs on their cotton property “Lllano” near Bald Hill. 

“We wanted to increase the biodiversity on our farm as well as provide a windbreak,” Geoff said. “Fifteen years later we definitely see more birds and lizards and feel the corridors are contributing to natural pest control.”

Before planting the corridors, Geoff fallowed the area for 18 months.

“We approached the…

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