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Community & Business

28 October, 2022

Adapting key on saturated farms

As the rain keeps coming in 2022, local cotton farmers are learning some persistence of their own to tackle issues related to saturated and compacted soil.

Persistent rain throughout 2022 has presented challenges for local farmers but Brookstead’s Grant Porter is taking an adaptive approach.

“It’s been persistent,” says third generation Brookstead cotton farmer Grant Porter. 

He’s talking about a prominent topic in the industry right now - the rain.

But for this local farmer, a background in engineering is a handy tool to have in the arsenal right now.

“We really haven’t been able to get on the ground to prepare as we’d like to,” he said of the excessively saturated conditions after above average rainfall throughout 2022.

“We’re doing a lot of adaptive planting... adapting machinery and trying to minimise compaction. 

“We’re also converting some of our implements to fertilise as we’re sewing so we can get two jobs done in one pass. 

“This season it looks like we’ll be doing a lot more in crop jobs.

“Wherever we’ve got cotton ready to be planted, those are the wettest areas because there’s nothing to dry the soil out.

“Right now is the perfect time to get planting but we just need that window... but if we get any more rain now it could mean it’s ideal to plant a bit later. 

“It’s in Mother Nature’s hands at the moment.” 

The Porters have been growing cotton since the 1970s and Grant grew up
on the farm before leaving
to get his engineering
degree then working in that sector for a decade before returning to work on the family farm.

“Those engineering skills are coming in handy with adapting machinery right now - we have to use the rain instead of going against it.

“It has certainly made for an interesting season. 

“Every 10 to 14 days we seem to get enough to pull us off the paddock again.

“Our wheat is looking really nice, it’s flowering
and we’re probably looking at harvesting in November but that’s up to Mother Nature, if she let’s us in or not.”

The wheat was put in as a cover crop after the cotton harvest and it had helped to counter the compaction issues brought on by the ongoing rain. 

“It’s got its roots down there and cracked the soil open.   

“We just need that window now to harvest towards the need of November.”

Abridged - see the full story in this week's Pittsworth Sentinel

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