- Modern Australian Agriculture
Dryland cotton hectares increase in 2019 season
Friday 18th January 2019
Almost 93,000 hectares of dryland cotton was planted this season, which at 31.5 percent, is the highest ever as a percentage of total cotton crop. This year’s dryland crop is also the second biggest since commercial production began in the 1960s, with only the 2011-12 season recording a larger area.
More than half of the dryland cotton was planted on the Darling Downs and in the Gwydir valley after rainfall events in October and November.
This season’s dryland cotton has boosted total cotton area from ABARES’ predicted figure of 250,000 hectares to 294,000 hectares.
Commercial Operations Lead for Bayer, Tony May, said while the large dryland cotton area being grown this season was exceptional, the overall size of the cotton industry is down significantly on last year.
“There are nearly 160,000 hectares less cotton compared with last season,” Mr May said. “This is a direct result of low or zero allocations of irrigation water because of the extended drought.
“We had very dry conditions for the first eight months of 2018 and low soil moisture levels coming into the planting season, so it’s remarkable to see how much dryland cotton has been planted,” he said.
One of the benefits of the expanded planting window of Bollgard®3 cotton is that growers can plant from August 1 to December 31.
“The large dryland cotton area this season certainly reflects the value farmers place in the flexibility of Bollgard 3, which allows them to delay their planting decision until they have adequate soil moisture levels,” Mr May said.
Once again more than 95 percent of the cotton area was planted to Bollgard 3 stacked with Roundup Ready Flex®cotton, which contains in-built technologies that allow growers to effectively control Helicoverpa caterpillars as well as keep their crops clean of weeds.
Bollgard 3 cotton contains three proteins that target Helicoverpa armigeraand Helicoverpa punctigera, both significant and damaging pests of cotton, reducing the need for insecticide applications.
“The widespread adoption of Bollgard 3 cotton over the past three seasons has led to a further reduction in insecticide use compared to the previous technology Bollgard II®; and is now 93 percent loweracross the industry than when conventional cotton was grown in the early 1990s.”
Mr May said that growers also value the benefits of Roundup Ready Flex technology in cotton.
“We’ve received a lot of positive feedback from dryland cotton growers who say they are now able to get on top of problem weeds that had been building up in other summer crops.”
This season, more than 70 growers entered the industry for the first time, half of whom are growing dryland cotton.
“The high proportion of new dryland growers not only demonstrates the value and flexibility of Bollgard 3 stacked with Roundup Ready Flex cotton but also the higher potential returns, driven by the technology and the strong cotton price,” Mr May said.
About Bayer in Australia
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the Life Science fields of healthcare and agriculture. Its products and services are designed to benefit people and improve their quality of life. It has operated in Australia since 1925 and has a long-term commitment to the health of Australians. Locally, Bayer currently employs almost 900 people across the country and is dedicated to servicing the needs of rural Australia and the local community. Bayer is deeply committed to research and development and has a strong tradition of innovation. The company’s focus on people, partnerships and innovation underpins all aspects of its operations, consistent with its mission, “Bayer: Science For A Better Life.” crop.bayer.com.au
James Holden (Bayer) 0447 087 463
This release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Bayer management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Bayer’s public reports which are available on the Bayer website at www.bayer.com. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conformthem to future events or developments.