Cotton growers clinch awards in tough season

Grain Central, February 7, 2020

Winner of the irrigated category in the FastStart Cotton Establishment Awards for the 2019-20 season, Angus Doolin, North Star, NSW.

NEW South Wales grower, Angus Doolin, North Star, and Queensland grower, Brett Enkelmann, Murgon, have taken out the irrigated and dryland categories, respectively, in the FastStart Cotton Establishment Awards for the 2019-20 season.

Each grower wins a pair of tickets to attend a tour of Kununurra, Western Australia, to observe farming practices in that diverse growing region.

The FastStart Cotton Program is a collaboration between Syngenta Australia and Cotton Seed Distributors (CSD) that funds research and practical solutions to support healthy establishment and robust growth in the early stages of a cotton crop’s life.

The competition, which compared establishment percentages and uniformity, saw over 70 entries this season across both dryland and irrigated categories.

“There are lots of growers out there doing a fantastic job of optimising their seedling establishment through the utilisation of the technology and tools that FastStart is providing,” Syngenta Seedcare technical services lead, Sean Roberts, said.

South Burnett cotton growers, Brett and Kay Enkelmann, Murgon, Qld, won the dryland category in the FastStart Cotton Establishment Awards for the 2019-20.

CSD marketing and extension lead, James Quinn, said this year’s top farmers were all the more impressive considering all the factors that contribute to establishment success.

Some of those correlated factors include how well the planter is set up, field and soil bed preparation, planting conditions, operator performance and the management of any soil insects and seedling diseases.

Mr Quinn said the FastStart Cotton Establishment Guide provided the information these growers needed to navigate crop establishment while FastStart-supported seed treatments helped safeguard seedlings against soilborne insect pests and diseases.

“Achieving even establishment of a cotton crop isn’t easy but it is critical in getting the crop off to a good start. This can influence the development of the crop and ultimately, yield and quality at picking,” he said.

Mr Doolin said he was thrilled to win the irrigated crop category, particularly given it had been an extremely tough season.

“We focus on a full no-till system and aim to maximise seedling establishment by managing stubble within the plant line prior to planting. We use Syngenta seedcare treatments and adjust the planter speed to the conditions to ensure consistent seed placement.”

Mr Enkelmann said he was very honoured to have won this season’s dryland cotton category.

“With the dry weather, this season has been a very challenging time; but with the use of a precision planter, FastStart technologies and a no-till farming system, the benefits are evident in the emergence and strength of this season’s cotton,” he said.

Source: Syngenta, CSD



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