AS the sun sets on another warm March day at Tooroora, south-west of Dirranbandi, property owner Martin Sullivan can't help but smile as he cracks a beer open at the end of the day.
Looking across his fully grown cotton fields with wife Karen, the familiar white specks are starting to spread right across the green glow.
Cotton bolls are bursting open and picking of this year's crop is less than three weeks away.
At 240 hectares of irrigated Bollgard 74BRF cotton, the 30 per cent capacity planting certainly isn't their largest crop to date, but it's one Mr Sullivan is proud to have produced.
"Like everyone we've had a couple of tough seasons, but this is probably the best crop we've ever had."
Some significant heat waves early in the season before Christmas established the bulk of the cotton plants.
Meanwhile, Martin and Karen, along with their four children - Emily, 12; Lucy, 10; Mia, 8; and Cormack, 5 - worked tirelessly over summer to keep the water flowing from storage through the poly pipes and into the field.
Mr Sullivan is hoping for a yield of 11 bales per hectare this picking, which will be a relief after "copping an absolute hiding last year" due to late rain.
"It probably sounds like a bit of a cliché, but it is quite a rewarding crop," he said.
"It’s a bit of a challenge. It's always good to get to the end of the season and feel like you’ve had a win."
The familiar specks of white are spreading over Tooroora's fields with picking less than three weeks away. - Picture: LORRAINE CROTHERS.
Keeping production costs down is their biggest challenge in maintaining a sustainable agribusiness.
"To be sustainable you’ve got to grow a high yield and to grow a high yield it is essential to have a close relationship with your agronomist," Mr Sullivan said.
"You need to be able to work with your agronomist to pinpoint the perfect nutrition and water balance.
"You get better at it every year."