Tipperary cotton field day a success

Region: Greater Darwin, Katherine Region | Topic: Horticulture
28 Sep 2020

Cotton

Well over 30 growers and industry representatives attended a modern cotton field day at Tipperary station in July.

The well-attended field day, organised by NT Farmers, gave attendees a firsthand opportunity to see modern cotton being harvested. Tipperary staff also explained cotton nutrition, dryland irrigation, biosecurity practices for weed, pest and disease management, crop rotation and erosion control.

Growers had a chance to walk through the genetically modified variety cotton blocks and hear about the economic viability of cotton grown in the Northern Territory (NT). Cotton research and cultivation has a long history in the Territory and there have been numerous studies on growing cotton on a commercial basis. Research has included enhancing understanding of disease and pest resistance, crop yield and fibre quality to support industry viability assessments. Early indications are that the economics of dryland or irrigated cotton make it an attractive income diversification option on cattle properties.

The diversity of cotton crops allows many parts of the plant to be used from the lint, which is processed to produce yarn, and lint and seed by-products which are processed into oil, meal and hulls for human consumption, the production of soaps and cosmetics and as part of livestock feed. Cotton lint and seed is currently transported from sites in the Territory to a cotton gin in Kingaroy (Queensland) for processing, and industry has expressed strong interest in the development of a cotton gin in Katherine.

Senior Research Agronomist Dr Ian Biggs, spoke about the initial results from the ‘Potential for Broadacre Cropping in the NT’ project. The project is funded by the Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA) and is collating historical broadacre cropping data, natural resource information and market opportunities. It is also undertaking cotton modelling in a crop model called APSIM and is using cotton trials to validate model results.

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