Bore irrigated cotton crop marching on

Irrigated cotton ready to bloom for picking


Cotton
Brookstead farmer Lyn Brazil, Anchorfield, looks over his irrigated cotton, which has enjoyed three in-crop waters from his bore allocation.

Brookstead farmer Lyn Brazil, Anchorfield, looks over his irrigated cotton, which has enjoyed three in-crop waters from his bore allocation.

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Bore water helped Lyn Brazil's cotton crop survive in the driest season in 45 years.

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With the Brookstead district the driest local farmer Lyn Brazil has seen in 45 years, and his rainfall records reflecting it, he couldn't be more happy with how his irrigated cotton is performing. 

Mr Brazil, along with his wife Bobbie, farm 3640 hectares of self-mulching Condamine clay soil over four farms, including Anchorfield.

After promising rain over three days delivered 90 millimetres in early October, Mr Brazil had enough sub-soil moisture to plant  600 hectares of cotton in long fallowed ground that had grown a 2016 winter crop.

Mr Brazil normally draws an irrigation allocation from Leslie Dam and surface overland flow from the Condamine River, as well as a number of on-property bores.

But due to the prolonged dry weather he could only rely on his bore allocation. 

He planted 120 hectares in solid formation to irrigate, and the balance in skip-row formation.

Mr Brazil said his irrigated cotton has enjoyed three -in-crop waters

"We watered using one megalitre per hectare," he said. 

"About two-thirds of the skip-row cotton has also received one in-crop water in places where we are able to irrigate the crop.

"The irrigated crop is looking remarkably good and we are very happy with its progress.

"Parts of the skip-row cotton is also very good. We believe this was an efficient use of limited water that was available to us. 

"The balance that has not received any in-crop water is nothing to be proud of."

Mr Brazil said the real test will be when they start to pick as their machinery is fitted with a yield mapping monitor.

"We will be able to clearly see the resulting yield patterns, and can access the results of our farming practices."

Mr Brazil said when picked he is expecting to yield between nine to 10 bales a hectare from his irrigated crop.

He expects his skip-row irrigated crop to yield between five to six bales per hectare, while the dryland crop will yield between in two to three bales. 

Mr Brazil said cotton prices were holding firm, currently sitting on $580/bale.

"That's pretty good at the moment but we farmers always like more money.

"It would be good if it jumps to $600/bale."

Mr Brazil will start defoliating his dryland crop very shortly and start picking. 

Lyn Brazil, Anchorfield, Brookstead, points to some of his drought stressed sorghum crop which will be downgraded to sorghum No 2. Picture - Helen Walker.

Lyn Brazil, Anchorfield, Brookstead, points to some of his drought stressed sorghum crop which will be downgraded to sorghum No 2. Picture - Helen Walker.

Corn and sorghum struggling 

Lyn Brazil thought the seasons had turned in his favour when he received 600 millimetres of rain over three falls last October. 

He planted 110 hectares of irrigated corn that was grown in really good conditions and returned between five to six tonne per hectare.

This corn has since been sold and will be manufactured into corn chips.

However, growing conditions have since deteriorated on Anchorfield, and his 200ha of corn planted in December will now be baled as fodder for his 1500 breeder cattle running at Wyaga, near Goondiwindi. 

Mr Brazil also planted 1500ha of sorghum with very disappointing yield.

"What we have harvested so far has been variable and between two to four tonnes to the hectare," he said. 

"It has been graded as sorghum No 2, we have been discounted by about $20/ tonne," Mr Brazil said.

"Unless the season breaks my prospect of a winter planting is quite bleak." 

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