GM cot­ton trial crops ready for har­vest

Countryman - - NEWS - Peter de Krui­jff

The har­vest of cot­ton trials in the Ord Val­ley started in earnest this week with the hand pick­ing of sev­eral va­ri­eties for anal­y­sis.

This is the sec­ond year ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied cot­ton has been planted in the re­gion for a joint trial be­tween the North­ern Aus­tralia Crop Re­search Al­liance in part­ner­ship with CSIRO and Cot­ton Re­search and De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion.

The GM crop was planted be­tween Jan­uary and March, in the Kim­ber­ley wet sea­son, across 16ha on Ceres Farm in Pack­sad­dle and more than 300ha of black soil man­aged by Kim­ber­ley Agri­cul­tural In­vest­ment.

CSIRO prin­ci­pal re­search agron­o­mist Stephen Yeates said this year looked to be a bit tougher for cot­ton after a hot April. He said re­gard­less of the re­sults the team was learn­ing a lot from the three­year trial.

Wet sea­son plant­ings have been made pos­si­ble by Mon­santo’s re­lease of a new ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied cot­ton va­ri­ety called Boll­gard 3. The main cot­ton har­vest will start next week with the ar­rival of a large piece of har­vest­ing equip­ment.

Pic­ture: Peter de Krui­jff

Ord Co se­nior agron­o­mist Penny Gold­smith hand-pick­ing cot­ton for test­ing at Ceres Farm.

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