AN ongoing commitment to growing the best cotton possible continues to drive the decision making of the Newell family’s Korolea Farming business.
This year the Newells are celebrating their 40th season, planting 750 hectares of fibre crop on their Macintyre Valley country, south of Goondiwindi.
The Newells were one of the pioneers of cotton in district, planting the first crop in 1978. At that time the closest gin was in Narrabri. The Newells have maintained that long term relationship, now sending their bales to the Auscott gin in Moree.
Korolea Farming comprises of two properties: Korolea and Royston, which cover 2500 hectares. The 1750ha of irrigated country sources its water from the Macintyre River.
This season 750ha has been planted with the CSD staple varieties Sicot 746B3F and Sicot 748B3F.
The operation is run by Rob and Jan Newell and their son Andrew.
“It’s been an interesting season so far given how dry it has been,” Andrew said.
“We did plant into good moisture, but not into a full profile a moisture.
“As soon as we had the seed in the ground we were watering up to make sure we could achieve as good a germination as possible.
“We’re certainly hoping there will be some in-crop rain to keep everything on track.”
The crop was planted over a two week period using a 12m John Deere MaxEmerge planter on 1m spacings.
Andrew said the fast emerging crop was performing well, reaching its one true leaf stage.
The crop will soon be treated with glyphosate to control weeds and side dressed with urea.
Part of the Newells strategy has been to usually plant no more than a 1000ha of the 1750ha irrigated area.
Andrew said that balanced the production area against the 7000 megalitre water storages.
“It means we can be confident going into future seasons,” Andrew said.
The Newells have also adopted the FastStart growing program, which is designed to ensure strong, healthy establishment and robust growth in the early stages of a crop’s life up until flowering.
The collaboration between Cotton Seed Distributors and Syngenta combines cotton genetics, chemistry and technologies with the stated aim of providing growers with the highest net return potential from the cotton varieties CSD produces.
The FastStart program screens novel technologies and supports the development of practical tools to help growers address cotton establishment challenges, while also driving cotton yield potential.
It’s likely the crop will be picked in mid-April.
Andrew said the adoption of John Deere round bale technology had also increased the efficiency of the operation.
“Round bales have probably brought our program a month ahead,” Andrew said.
“The harvest workforce has been cut by probably half and we can be in the paddocks mulching and root cutting as soon as the bale grab has picked up the bales.”