EXPERIMENTING: Orana farm manager Carlo Stangherlin with cotton in three different planting in October 2016.
EXPERIMENTING: Orana farm manager Carlo Stangherlin with cotton in three different planting in October 2016. Jessica Dorey

Success for August cotton

A FOUR-YEAR cotton trial in Emerald is proving crops planted in August outperform those sown at the traditional time of late September.

A Department of Agriculture and Fisheries spokesperson said the trial had tested the crops performance during ideal weather.

"The idea is to flower earlier and fill bolls during the weather that occurs during November through until Christmas, with boll opening and picking occurring in January to hopefully avoid the potential for wet weather in February - the wettest month,” the spokesperson said.

The trial hosted by Cowral Ag at Orana farm was conducted on 16 hectares of commercial scale plots.

Last year three different planting dates were trialled with two new Bollgard 3 seeds, a third generation product which contains a protein that improves the stability of insect control. Cotton was sown on August 1, August 21 and September 15.

The DAF spokesperson said this years results have been consistent with previous years with "excellent performance in terms of yield and quality from the August sowings.”

"There has been no boll rot or lint discolouration in the August sowings. The crops were affected by the insect pressure during October and hence they are running about seven to 10 days late compared to previous seasons. The crops however, have recovered well from early insect damage,” the spokesperson said.

"While picking can still coincide with wet weather, the chance of rain at picking is halved with August sowing compared to September and the yield potential would appear to be greater as the bolls are filled during more favourable conditions during spring.

"While every season will be different, on average we expect August sowing to outperform September over the long term.”