Expansive trials program underway despite dry

21 November, 2018

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Despite the current dry conditions and limited water allocations, CSD’s Extension & Development (E&D) team have not taken their foot off the accelerator, with an extensive trials program consisting over more than 210 trials currently being planted across the cotton industry this season.

The CSD trials program aims to help growers make the best variety and agronomic decisions based on local and cross-industry research, and is part of CSD’s Strategic Plan to increase industry yield by two bales per hectare by 2020 and improve dryland cotton productivity by 20%.

The E&D team are heading into the fifth season of the CSD Ambassador Network program, a collaboration with growers and other industry co-operators to develop a network of commercial scale field or trial sites across each of the major cotton growing regions. These trial sites are intensively monitored by the E&D team throughout the season, the crop data analysed and benchmarked, and the findings communicated to the industry. This season, the E&D team have planted more than 75 Ambassador Trials to date, with a focus on:
• Land preparation practices
• Crop establishment
• Understand application of FastStart™ cotton
• Crop nutrition
• Crop water use
• Yield and quality

As well as the Ambassador sites, the team have been conducting numerous agronomy trials specific to each valley. These include trials around establishment of the varieties under high Black root rot situations; and Verticillium trials looking at the effects on plant population, nutrition, as well as variety responses to these diseases. There are also over 30 trials looking at planting depth, population and gappyness to help with the decision making process around a replant, as well as row spacing trials, just to name a few.

The FastStart™ Discovery program (which is funded through a contribution from the sale of CSD seed treated with Syngenta’s cotton seedcare range) aims to address key grower and industry challenges, such as the control of insect pests and diseases, as well as screening adjacent technologies to help drive yield potential and minimise risks associated with establishing cotton in Australia. This year, the program sees more than 15 trials across the industry assessing the performance on establishment. Next season, we will see the release of Vibrance CST, which is a product that has come out of this program to aid growers in establishing cotton under adverse conditions.

And as always, the E&D team still have a big focus on the CSD variety trial program. This program has a focus on testing new and current varieties to ensure they meet the yield and agronomic needs of growers. This year, the southern regions will see three new Bollgard® 3 lines that have been developed to meet the needs of the southern area. This year’s program has a large geographic spread to include new areas in Victoria and NSW, as well as expanding into areas such as the Fraser Coast region in Queensland. The Burdekin will also play a role in the variety program this year and is expected to be sown in the New Year.

By Jorian Millyard, Extension & Development Manager – New South Wales