Cotton on Show in Central Queensland

05 March, 2008

Boosted by up to three years water security in Fairbairn Dam, and good flows in the Dawson and Comet Rivers, there has been keen interest in the new generation of CSIRO cotton varieties showcased recently at a series of field walks across Central Queensland.

Cotton Seed Distributors agronomist John Marshall and CSIRO plant breeder Greg Constable introduced several new varieties that soon will be commercially available.

Of special interest was Sicot 70BRF, a variety released in limited quantities in the 2007-08 season, and set to be fully available for next season’s plant.

Greg Constable said the variety, which contains the very popular Bollgard II® and Roundup Ready Flex® traits, has been producing yields similar or better to Sicot 71BR, widely regarded as the highest-yielding variety currently available to Australian growers.

“In addition, Sicot 70BRF offers significant improvements in fibre quality over Sicot 71BR,” Greg Constable said.

John Marshall, who has been monitoring many Sicot 70BRF crops this season, concluded that it is almost identical to Sicot 71BR in its growth habit and management requirements.

“Similar to Sicot 71BR, it will respond very well to management, particularly timely irrigation. Its relatively compact growth habit also means similar rules should be used in regards to Pix applications as with Sicot 71BR.”

Greg Constable also presented a pipeline for new varieties set for release over the next five years.

“In the next season or so, there will be a limited release of Sicot 71BRF, a variety with the disease resistance and fibre quality attributes of Sicot 70BRF, plus some extra yield.

“In 2010, growers will see Sicot 75BRF, where we expect to see transformational improvements in combinations of disease resistance, fibre length and yield.”

Despite the smallest cotton planting in 20 years, John Marshall said CSD had maintained its intensive large-scale variety trial program with over 40 trials across the industry.

“In the next few months we will be harvesting and ginning these trials, with the results going straight onto our website as they become available.”