Macintyre Valley cotton field day showcases Bayer Cotton Grower of the Year

Simon, Brett and Peter Corish, Mundine, Goondiwindi, with agronomist Jim O'Conner.
Simon, Brett and Peter Corish, Mundine, Goondiwindi, with agronomist Jim O'Conner.

Cotton growers, agronomists, and industry representatives visited Mundine near Goondiwindi on Wednesday for the Bayer Cotton Grower of the Year field day.

About 250 people from across the Macintyre Valley, as well as people from Moree and NSW's Riverina region, attended the annual event, which combined with the Macintyre Valley cotton field day.

Brett and Anna Corish won the Cotton Grower of the Year award in 2018, opening up the Corish family property to showcase their operation and this season's cotton crop.

Brett said it was great to see a large attendance at the field day.

"It's great to see people from the very bottom to the very top of the industry," he said.

"It's a sign of the jointness of the cotton industry, everyone getting around each other to support what we're doing and what we're achieving.

"These days mean people are able to network, seeing how others are operating and seeing how they're all coping through the current conditions."

The Corish family have 520 hectares of single-skip cotton planted at Mundine this year, and Brett said the season has been tough.

"Zero water allocation, so we're reliant on carryover water and we've had a very dry summer, probably one of the lowest on record," Brett said. 

"It's made the growing of the crop very challenging, trying to stretch waters." 

Planted mid-November, there had been no incrop rain until 100mm fell over the weekend.

"Rainfall of late has been very good, probably a touch late for most people but it has shown that it can rain again,"  Brett said.

Mundine will begin defoliation in the next seven to 10 days, with pickers hitting the crops by mid-April.

Landmark agronomist and secretary of the Macintyre Valley Cotton Field Day Committee Georgie Phillips said this season will be a mixed bag.

"The ones who planted on all the water they had should be right, although yields will be down a little as a result of another tough heat period this summer which stressed crops out," she said.

"There's some dryland that's already been picked which is yielding from half a bale to the hectare to two bales to the hectare. Yields are incredibly low for dryland.

"A lot of people have plowed their dryland out; it wasn't worth the cost of picking and ginning, so they had to make a call."

Ms Phillips said that call was made easier thanks to a program Cotton Seed Distributors (CSD) are running which gives seed credit to those people who don't end up picking their crop for any reason other than hail.

"It means growers can have another go next year and don't have to pay for seed again," she said.

"This is the second year they've done this and it's been taken up very well by the industry."

With many people looking to get their crops off over the coming weeks, Ms Phillips said a hot topic at Wednesday's field day was the strippers versus pickers session.

"In a tough season like we've had, a stripper does a better job," she said.

In addition to a machinery talk, other topics included a Bayer, CSD and Syngenta update; integrated weed management and chemistry options; spray drift, legislation and efficacy; water use efficiency, identifying soil constraints and bankless irrigation design; and field to fabric.

Cotton Australia CEO Adam Kay also gave an update, while guest speakers were members of the Classic Wallabies, including Justin Harrison, Radike Samo and Sam Cordingley, and Wallaroos who are in the region ahead of their showcase event in Moree this weekend