Weather sta­tion helps farmer pro­duce cot­ton

The Northern Star - Northern New South Wales Rural Weekly - - FRONT PAGE -

A FIRST try at cot­ton last sea­son on the Tal­bra­gar Park prop­erty at Dune­doo in cen­tral western New South Wales came af­ter years of re­search and prepa­ra­tion.

James Framp­ton said when they pur­chased the prop­erty seven years ago, their Quirindi agronomist flagged that it could grow cot­ton.

“We put in a weather sta­tion about three years ago and re­searched if we had enough grow­ing hours to phys­i­cally grow the crop in this new en­vi­ron­ment, Mr Framp­ton said.

He said the switch to cot­ton was made, in part, be­cause of the good prices on of­fer, but also to bring an­other crop into the ro­ta­tion.

“We’ve grown a lot of sorghum and grass weeds were a real is­sue. We were run­ning into prob­lems with her­bi­cide re­sis­tance with the grasses so we had to make a real change and cot­ton was the ob­vi­ous choice,” he said.

Three ap­pli­ca­tions of Roundup Ready with Plantshield were ap­plied in-crop and did an ex­cel­lent job of con­trol­ling a range of weeds in­clud­ing li­v­erseed and barn­yard grass.

Cot­ton was planted un­der a pivot along­side a rye­grass pivot that fed fat lambs over the sum­mer.

“There’s been no is­sue fit­ting cot­ton into the very di­verse op­er­a­tion on our farm,” Mr Framp­ton said.

He said prepa­ra­tion was key, along with fol­low­ing their agronomist’s ad­vice closely through­out the sea­son.

“I had very lit­tle ex­pe­ri­ence with cot­ton be­fore plant­ing it. But com­ing into the in­dus­try

now with Boll­gard 3, in­sect con­trol has been an easy job. We only had two sprays early on for mirids.

“On the whole, grow­ing cot­ton has been re­ally en­joy­able be­cause it’s a crop where you can come and see some­thing change ev­ery day. You can see a new node or see the bolls are form­ing or crack­ing. It’s def­i­nitely a very in­ter­est­ing crop to grow.”

Mr Framp­ton said he was con­cerned about spray drift com­ing into the cot­ton crop and had reg­u­lar con­tact with other farmers in the area.

“We had spray drift days well be­fore we planted, try­ing to speak to the neigh­bours and we were very in­clu­sive. We didn’t thrust it upon our neigh­bours with­out telling them.”

He said any­one look­ing at cot­ton should get some good data about their area and ad­vice from an ex­pe­ri­enced agronomist.

“I’m pretty con­fi­dent we will plant cot­ton again next year.”

❝grown We’ve a lot of sorghum and grass weeds were a real is­sue. — James Framp­ton

PHOTO: STEPHEN SMITH

COT­TON FARMER: James Framp­ton from Dune­doo, New South Wales.

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