Cotton crops loving the hotter weather
THE pigs may be sweating, the corn may be wilting and the paint may be peeling but the cotton crop loves the heat.
Peter Enkelmann, who runs a cotton plantation at Silverleaf, said his crop was thriving.
“We’re very happy with it but it’ll be at least two months away from harvesting,” Mr Enkelmann said.
“Provided we can keep the water to it, cotton can tolerate heat. That said, it doesn’t like it excessively hot. This area can grow good cotton (and) generally doesn’t get too hot.”
Mr Enkelmann said there was nothing like cotton when it came to converting water into cash.
“Cotton gives the greatest return per megalitre of water,” he said. “Sometimes horticulture groups can get a better return but there are no other crops in this area that would give as good a return.
“If we’re dry for the next years, we might only get one allocation so we’ll plant mung beans.”
Mung beans do not require sustained irrigation and the grow time is shorter, so Mr Enkelmann can cash out quicker.
With a lower-than-average rainfall across the district, Byee cotton farmers are making do with a reduced irrigation allocation.
“We get water from BP (Bjelke-Petersen) Dam. There wasn’t a full allocation, we’re down to 74%.
“We’ve had low rain fall and excessive heat, which is a double whammy for irrigators,” Mr Enkelmann said.
Irrigators pay the same rate, regardless of allocation.
Mr Enkelmann is trialling a new strain of cotton this year that should be more pest resistant and produced more bulbs than previous strains, with an aim for higher yields.
TWO WORDS: Cotton farmer Peter Enkelmann and agronomist Wayne Seiler inspect the cotton crop.