Queensland Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry senior research scientist Paul Grundy says the Central Highlands has experienced a number of wetter seasons in the past field, resulting in bowl losses and lower quality harvests and yields. The study aims to rectify this. By using a biodegradable plastic film, growers may be able to plant in August rather than September encouraging the cotton to flower earlier.
Mr Grundy says the early planting will avoid adverse weather conditions in January and February. They have identified that the period from October through to December is absolutely ideal for growing cotton and filling those bowls.
What they're actually looking at in the experiment is better capitalising on those more reliable conditions.
The trial involves the use of biodegradable plastic film to bring the planting window forward. It brings forward flowering in the crop so the crop begins to flower in October as opposed to very late November and it just means the plant can fill and finish... a much higher proportion of those bowls during that better period of weather leading up to New Years, Mr Grundy says.
He says the results have been very positive - the development of the crop has been excellent and it has successfully brought forward flowering and bowl maturation.
Mr Grundy hopes to repeat the study for at least the next three years to get a full range of seasonal variability.
A cotton trial in the Central Highlands is looking at ways to bring forward the planting window.
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