What do koalas, the Fitzroy river turtle and the southern bell frog have in common? They're just three of the iconic Australian species found on or near our cotton farms. 

A fantastic new resource has just been launched on our CottonInfo website, showcasing the biodiversity information for every local cotton growing area.

By choosing your local government area (LGA) on our clickable map, you'll see a snapshot of the biodiversity that exists in your area: the iconic plant and animal species in your region, and the threatened ones.

The…

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Coming off the back of drought, crop managers may have concerns that prolonged periods of fallow will cause a rise in the incidence of long fallow disorder.

Long fallow disorder is characterised as emerging crops growing poorly following periods of fallowing paddocks. In the 1970 and 80s, the disorder was associated with low densities of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi. The theory was that propagules of the AM fungi decreased over time during long fallows and this caused the disorder. However a body of cotton industry research over 30 years tells a different story.

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With the 2020-21 season approaching, now's the time to be undertaking preseason planning to reflect and consider strategies on how to manage pests and beneficials.

Integrated pest management (IPM) uses knowledge of pest biology, behaviour and ecology to implement a range of integrated tactics to supress and reduce pest outbreaks and reliance on insecticides for their management. IPM supports the long-term management of pests, maintains profitability, reduces the risk of insecticide resistance and minimises risks to human health and the environment.

At the heart of IPM…

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Endemic diseases such as Verticillium and Black root rot can inhibit production and be costly for growers and consultants. Integrated disease management (IDM) strategies are important for controlling and reducing the impact diseases can have on farm. In back-to-back cotton fields, the disease risks are higher, increasing the importance of using a range of IDM strategies such as planting resistant varieties.

The development of resistant varieties has been a prominent method for managing major cotton diseases including Fusarium wilt. The industry has developed a ranking system (F…

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Your farm. Your biosecurity risks. Your farm biosecurity plan.

The best defence against unwanted pests, weeds and diseases is to implement on-farm biosecurity practices. Simple measures and practices built into everyday routines can help protect your farm from the introduction and spread of these pests. Developing a farm biosecurity plan helps growers assess the likelihood of how pests, weeds and diseases could potentially be introduced or spread on farm and decide on the appropriate measures to minimise these risks.

In its essence, a farm biosecurity plan is a self-…

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This season, three of the CottonInfo REOs decided to do a deep dive in the life cycle of the silverleaf whitefly (SLW). Andrew McKay (Border Rivers) , Janelle Montgomery (Gwydir, Mungindi) and Amanda Thomas (Macquarie Valley) donned the white lab coats and pulled in some expert advice from Dr Jamie Hopkinson of QDAF fame. A wise man (Dr Robert Mensah) once said to find the insect, you must think like the insect. With that in mind, the three intrepid explorers headed out into the fields in search of SLW populations...

Given that this particular insect is very small and pretty fast…

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Farm hygiene is at the heart of pest and disease management, but it's one of the most under-rated tactics. Maintaining a farm that is free of weeds including volunteer and ratoon cotton plants breaks the green bridge needed for pests and pathogens to overwinter until the following season. These unwanted plants provide a starting population for pests to move quickly into the next crop the following season and increase the chances of pest outbreaks.

Volunteer and ratoon cotton plants can also act as a reservoir for plant viruses such as cotton bunchy top (CBT). Cotton bunchy…

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Ensure all vehicles, machinery and equipment arriving onto your property are mud and trash free. 

Come Clean. Go Clean is one of the simplest yet most effective ways of minimising the spread of weeds, diseases and pests. With the increased prevalence of glyphosate resistant weeds and the constant threat of pests and diseases, it is important to ensure that all machinery, vehicles and equipment arriving on and leaving farm are mud and trash free.

Mud and trash on vehicles and machinery is one of the easiest ways for weed seeds, pathogens and pests such as mealybugs…

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Precision spray technologies - what the?

In simple terms, precision spray technologies means using optical cameras and sensors to identify individual weeds or patches within fields and applying high rates of herbicide to prevent seed set.

Initially this technology was used primarily in fallow fields to clean up patches of weeds that escaped summer fallow sprays. Growers who have adopted this technology are reporting savings of up to 90 per cent on their herbicide costs as they are only spraying 10-15 per cent of the field. Therefore, this also means they are using 90 per…

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Have you been to a cotton catch-up in your valley lately? 

The purpose of the catch-ups is to provide an opportunity for growers and agronomists to gain a better understanding of IPM issues and the pests and beneficial insects that people are seeing in fields, and discuss management options being implemented or considered.

One of the big drivers for the renewal in these cotton catch-ups (previously known as area wide management meetings) is the increasing levels of insecticide resistance in pests such as silverleaf whitefly (SLW). Many insects,…

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