Cotton is out-performing expectations and is well worth a try, says Berrigan farmer Noel Baxter.SOPHIE BURGE May 7, 2014 4:00am
Berrigan’s Noel Baxter will harvest his third cotton crop in three years this month.
Cotton looks to be a promising, and now permanent, option for farmers in the Southern Riverina as high prices and low water allocations make it a crop of choice for some.
Although the region is generally considered to be on the cusp of suitable cotton growing conditions, several local farmers, including Mr Baxter, have been successful with their decision to grow irrigated cotton crops.
Mr Baxter says his crops are ‘‘growing and yielding really well.’’
The Baxter family has already grown around 270 hectares of cotton, harvesting a yield of 10-12 bales per hectare.
Like other cotton growers in the region, Mr Baxter and his brother Glen see cotton as a viable alternative to rice, which is what the family grew before the millennium drought.
‘‘It’s certainly a viable option (to rice) from what we can see; people should start to think about it,’’ Mr Baxter said.
‘‘Cotton remains an advantage as it uses less water and has a better return per megalitre than rice and is probably better than most summer crops.’’
Cotton uses around eight to nine megalitres per hectare, he said.
Mr Baxter admits cotton is more work than rice and that irrigation presents its challenges as cotton is grown on raised beds and is more labour intensive than a rice layout.
‘‘Cotton is something that’s well worth a try; it’s certainly a crop that’s out-performing expectations.
‘‘The return is there if you’re prepared to put in the work.’’
Cotton is best suited to warmer conditions and is sown in early October and picked in May.
With Auscott Limited’s plans for a new cotton gin to be built at Hay, there is potential for more local farmers to experiment with the fibre crop.
The community of Girgarre is ready to realise its musical dreams after receiving a $350 000 Victoria Government Small Town Transformation grant.
Three Yarrawonga footballers have excelled at interleague level, representing the Ovens and Murray against Hampden in Warrnambool on Saturday.
The Aboriginal and wider community is mourning the death of revered Bangerang Aboriginal elder, Uncle John ‘‘Sandy’’ Atkinson.
CERES will be moving to a new rhythm on June 10 when Melbourne’s Andrew Swift is joined by the Weeping Willows for a series of performances.
THE Corop Cemetery Trust volunteers are grateful for the volunteer-work from a regional vineyard.
Kyabram Football Club will host a family day next weekend.
Where there’s a Will, there’s a way
Berrigan Shire councillor Daryll Morris says he has been sickened by some of the vitriol and personal attacks to surface since the council’s proposal to redevelop Finley’s Memorial Hall and School of Arts site was revealed in October last year.
RENEWAL works have resumed on the Coliban Main Channel this month.
For most 10-year-olds, mischievous isn’t a word often found in their vocabulary, let alone having the ability to spell it correctly. But for Cobram Anglican Grammar Year 5 student Cadence Pang, it’s all in a day’s work.
Local owners stoked with horses success.
Campaspe Shire Council has estimated the direct economic impact to dairy farmers of reduced milk prices at $59 million.
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