Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Cotton moves south

A Berrigan grower has told other farmers cotton had outperformed his expectations.

ALEXANDRA BATHMAN August 5, 2014 3:02am

Cotton growing at Berrigan





A Berrigan grower has told other farmers cotton had outperformed his expectations.

Noel Baxter was speaking at the Grains Research and Development Corporation’s Grains Research Update in Moama last Thursday.

Mr Baxter said cotton was working well on his family farm Namarang and expected it to get better as varieties and technology improved.

‘‘People said it wouldn’t grow in Berrigan so really anything is possible,’’ he said.

Mr Baxter started growing cotton at Berrigan and Colombo Creek in 2011-12 with his brother Glen and father Kelvin on 100ha, and is now growing the crop on more than 300ha.

‘‘We probably won’t see more cotton further south than what we already have, but I think there will be more expansion in places like Berrigan, Deniliquin and Jerilderie.’’

Mr Baxter said just because he grew cotton, he wasn’t a cotton expert.

‘‘I don’t need to be. The agronomic advice is excellent. You can grow cotton without knowing a whole lot about it.’’

The highest crop result on Namarang was 13 bales and the lowest was 7.5 bales with the average net income for the cotton being $5000.

Mr Baxter discussed and answered growers’ questions about the risks of growing cotton in the region, including the cold weather and a wet May and June.

‘‘If it gets wet, it will dry out. But if it has too much weather, it can get discoloration and heavy discounts at selling time,’’ Mr Baxter said.

He said the industry was developing a biodegradable film to keep soil warmer in the colder months.

Finley grower Lochy McLeod grows wheat, barley, chickpeas, canola and rice with his father Geoff McLeod and attended the event.

‘‘We are looking to grow cotton in 2016 to diversify ourselves and to spread the risk a bit more so we are not locked into the one market,’’ Mr McLeod said.

Mr Baxter told growers cotton was a ‘‘very marketable crop’’ for lint and seed.

‘‘It’s not hard to sell and there is a big market to sell in.

‘‘Anyone that grows it can sell it. The main key to success is to do a good job of establishing the crop on time.’’

Mr Baxter also told the growers cotton wasn’t for everyone, as not all soils and farm layouts were suitable for the crop.

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