A trial into the prospects of early winter sown cotton in Central Queensland has reached another milestone after it was successfully picked this week.
Cotton Research and Development Corporation (CRDC) funded a trial to explore the possibility of avoiding the constraints of extreme weather with an earlier planting at Comet.
Related Reading: Groundbreaking winter sown cotton trials proving successful at Comet
Local grower Neek Morawitz hosted the experiment, planting 36 hectares of bollgard 3 cotton (under permit) across three sowing dates: May 26, June 16 and August 2.
Conducted by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF), research scientist Paul Grundy said despite unusual weather in November, the trial was overall successful.
"The trial has gone pretty well. It survived the winter really well, the establishment was well and it flowered at the right time in early October, which enabled good boll production," Mr Grundy said.
"Unfortunately, November wasn't the month we were hoping for, due to the increased cloud cover.
"The idea of the early plant was to basically capture that normally good weather in November, which is the money making month for that planting date."
The plot had 185 millimetres between November 10 and December 10 and Mr Grundy said two bursts of cloudy weather in that same period, unfortunately took the top off the crop's potential.
But, Mr Grundy said early indications had the crop yielding from 9.5 to 12.5 bales per hectare, pending ginning and classing results.
"The crop was where it needed to be at the right time," he said.
"That was the main objective. Hopefully next year we get the weather to go with that but also managing the maturity at the other end."
Mr Grundy said plans are already in motion to repeat the trial next season to capture that seasonal variability.
"This year hopefully we've had the worst case scenario relative to that planting date," he said.
"It's vital we repeat this work over a number of seasons because we know that the weather is variable and you want to work out what that average is and it takes several seasons to do that."
This is the first time Comet cotton grower Neek Morawitz has planted a commercial scale winter cotton crop of 36 hectares.
Mr Morawitz said the trial crop performed well above his expectations and allowed him to think outside the box.
"If the climate in Central Queensland continues to stay as warm as it currently is, a few years down the road we might be looking at changing our start date," he said.
Trying to fit better with the weather patterns will enable us to yield more cotton and of a higher quality.- Comet district cotton grower Neek Morawitz
"The trial results will allow growers like myself access to data, which we'll be able to draw on, giving us a foundation base to continue on."
"The introduction of Bollgard 3 several years ago changed our resistance management plan and that provided a new planting window in early August."
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