Queensland’s earliest cotton is being picked, and Dawson Valley grower Dan Austin is all smiles – with his crop yielding between 11 and 14 bales to the hectare.
Mr Austin, Kooroowatha, Theodore, planted 630 hectares of cotton this season, all planted in August.
August 1 was the start of the new planting window made available after the introduction of Bollgard III technology season, and Mr Austin has planted early both years.
Picking the August 6 plant this week, Mr Austin said he was stoked with the quality of the crop.
“All year has been pretty good, especially for the early stuff,” Mr Austin said of the growing condition for the early plant.
“We’ve had hardly any insect pressure at all this year, we had a couple of mirid sprays but bugger all really.”
On the crop being harvested Mr Austin said they had 10 irrigations, so it “took a bit to grow”.
“Some of the heavier soil down the back was only eight (irrigations), and some were down to six,” he said.
On average at Kooroowatha they irrigate between eight and 10 times each season.
This year they had about 79 per cent water allocation.
He said with the crop yielding between 11 and 14 bales to the hectare, he was very impressed with 714 variety.
The cotton was planted into fallow after Mr Austin took the winter off to level, and will be doing the same this year.
“Chickpea prices have come back a fair bit and with what water we’ve got in the river we’ve got enough to pre-irrigate before cotton again, so we’re doing okay,” he said.
“Everything is going to be early again next year – as early as I can get it in.”