Preparations underway for cotton plant

Preparations underway for cotton plant

Cotton
Grower Nigel Burnett and son Lachlan are gearing up for the next cotton planting season.

Grower Nigel Burnett and son Lachlan are gearing up for the next cotton planting season.

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Central Highlands grower Nigel Burnett and his team are optimistic about the season ahead as they prepare to plant.

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Central Highlands grower Nigel Burnett and his team are optimistic about the season ahead as they prepare to plant at Colorada, near Emerald, in a matter of weeks.

According to Mr Burnett, 240 hectares at Colorada will be planted with Bollgard 3 Sicot 746B3F cotton from August 20 and, all things being equal, his team will start harvesting the crop in the new year. Due to the ongoing drought conditions this is down from a possible 1300 hectares of irrigated cotton.

He anticipates the crop might yield 10-12 bales of cotton per hectare.

"Right at the moment it is off-season for our cotton operation," Mr Burnett said.

"But we will start planting on August 20 and start harvesting in the middle of January and then we will starting thinking about doing it all again later in 2020."

The Colorada cotton is bound for the international export market, most likely China and Vietnam.

Mr Burnett admits the cotton industry has been confronted by its share of challenges during his time in the business, but has also enjoyed good times.

"I grew up on a cotton farm and we started our own business in 2004," he said.

"While there have been challenges with irrigated cotton and the dry seasons there has also been a lot of opportunity and the industry has enjoyed some very good times".

"There have been years for us which have been fantastic when we have picked some high quality, good yielding cotton.

"We are governed by the allocation out of Fairbairn Dam and we've got some water allocation which we are able to carry over from last year."

The Burnett operation also pays close attention to disease control.

"Our disease management policies are about minimising the risk of transferring disease from farm-to-farm. We employ the industry recognised program, Come Clean Go Clean, where we virtually sterilise the machinery with a special wash down procedure with every movement of machinery on and off farm," Mr Burnett said.

"Across the two management units in the North and South, we employ 6 full time employees that all live on farm and without their commitment we could not do what we do."

The Burnett operation is spread across four individual properties.

Colorada and its neighbour Langley Downs, where they also run 450 head of cattle, are near Emerald while Denlo Park and Cedar Park are closer to Springsure.

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