9 June, 2023
A cool year for cotton
The finalists have been announced for the Australian cotton industry's most prestigious awards in 2023 and The Sentinel paid a visit to a local finalist to see what he's doing that's new and how the season is shaping up.
Brookstead's Johannes Roellgen is one of the three finalists in the Bayer Grower of the Year category fr the Cotton Australia Awards to be announced in August.
He and wife Scarlett came to the areas and began farming here almost 30 years ago.
Mr Roellgen said their practices on the land, and the cotton industry as a whole, had evolved greatly in that time.
For example, genetic modification to conclude a protein in the cotton that is toxic to the problem heliothis moth had been a game changer.
"When we first started in 1994 a crop like this one would have been sprayed put to 14 or 15 times with insecticides, like every week," Mr Roellegen said.
"This year, 80 per cent of our cotton wasn't sprayed a single time and the 20 per cent was sprayed once."
He said much more information was available now on keeping beneficial insects present.
"Every week we have agronomists taking note of all the beneficial insects, in every paddock."
The Roellgens are about halfway through their picking in what has been an average season.
"This is very good cotton but we've got quite a bit that doesn't look very good," he said.
"There were a couple of reasons. Firstly this has been the coolest growing season that we've had on record since 1974, looking at heat units which takes into account your minimum and maximum temperature every day.
"I think we had one day or maybe two, over 35 degrees which is very unusual for this area.
"It was a very cool summer and that really has been a feature of this year... very dry too, but we had enough irrigation water to look after them."
See the full story in the print edition of The Pittsworth Sentinel, June 8, 2023.