Irrigation trials key to maximising cotton industry potential

13TH FEB 18

Sundown Pastoral Company’s Moree property, Keytah, hosted cotton growers from across Queensland and NSW on Thursday as part of the Gwydir Valley Irrigator’s Association (GVIA) field day.

Growers flocked to Keytah to learn more about irrigation trials being conducted in partnership with the Gwydir Valley Irrigator’s Association and see some of the irrigation methods in action.

Cotton growers were keen to learn about siphon, subsurface drip, lateral move, and bankless channel irrigation, and heard from a range of speakers about the advantages and disadvantages, including Sundown Pastoral Company’s owner, David Statham, and Keytah’s general manager, Nick Gillingham.

Mr Statham said it was great to see so many people at the event and showing an interest in their irrigation trials.

“We’re all trying to get better at what we do,” he said.

“We lead the world in water use efficiency, so we’ve got a big job in front of us to tell a really good sustainable story.”

Gwydir Valley Irrigator’s Association project officer Louise Gall said field days like the one at Keytah are a great opportunity to show growers some of the research being done by other growers.

“It’s also a really important way that we can showcase the support that we get from our industry bodies like the Cotton Research and Development Corporation, but also the Federal Government under the Smarter Irrigation for Profit Project,” Ms Gall said.

“It’s been great that we’ve got a good roll-up of local growers, but also that we’ve got 24 people from southern NSW to actually come and see what research is being done with irrigation.

“We are so lucky here at Keytah because the Sundown Pastoral Company have been supporting research like this for ten years now.”

“That investment in time, effort, and money is invaluable for the industry so that we can see how new prototypes go, and as we’ve said today, we’ve been using prototypes in the past 12 months and there are always teething problems, so to have a grower who is willing to participate is fantastic.”

The GVIA field day also combined with CottonInfo’s irrigation and nitrogen research tour to deliver research findings to growers.

Ms Gall said it was important to combine their field day with the CottonInfo team because together they had the potential to really help growers manage their input costs, but also maximise their returns per hectare and per megalitre.

Queensland Country Life by Hayley Skelly-Kennedy

See the Irrigation Australia article.