Planning

Cut down your post-crop cotton stubble

As well as being the first step towards preparing a field for the next crop, destruction of the current crop residue is important to help manage pests and diseases. The industry encourages a zero tolerance of ratoon and volunteer cotton as these provide a 'green bridge' for pests to carry over between seasons. 

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Pupae busting

Pupae busting is a cultivation of the soil between cotton seasons to destroy the pupae of the industry's biggest pest, the Helicoverpa moth. These pests go into dormancy in the soil during winter, so this is an effective way of preventing any moths that may have developed resistance to Bt cotton or insecticide from contributing to the population in the following year. It's a critical part of the industry's stewardship program.

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Select your cotton variety

There are a large number of varieties of cotton that can be selected and grown. Varieties are generally chosen based on yield, quality, disease resistance characteristics and biotechnology traits. But other traits such as determinacy, leaf shape and season length may also be important. 

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Plan for dryland cotton

There are differences in yield potential, reliability and risks between row configurations and regions for dryland cotton. Extensive field research, combined with crop simulations and historical climate records serve as a guide to growers. The main consideration for dryland production is rainfall, and crop simulations also take into account soils, soil moisture, variety, row spacing, fertiliser application and climate when predicting yield potential. 

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Assess energy use

Energy is one of the fastest growing costs for cotton growers, with electricity and diesel accounting for up to 50 percent of grower's total input costs. Irrigation pumping is the major energy consumer in cotton production, with diesel use in tractors and machinery the next largest consumers of energy. There are significant opportunities to reduce energy (and costs!) on Australian cotton farms by conducting an on-farm energy use audit.

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