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Cotton season well underway, growers call for action to prevent spray drift

The 2016-17 Australian cotton season has begun, with planting mostly completed in the northern-most cotton valleys and early estimates anticipating a strong production year by growers.

Cotton Australia estimates more than 500,000 hectares of cotton will be planted this year.

“Rain in most cotton valleys has added to water storages, soil moisture profiles are ideal and global cotton prices are solid, boosting hopes for a productive season”, says Cotton Australia CEO, Adam Kay.

“Australian producers remain the highest-yielding cotton growers in the world, and if that trend continues as we expect it to, total production this season could be in the order of 4 million bales.”

However, Mr Kay says while recent rains have been beneficial for cotton growers, it has also brought the added danger of off-target spray drift from other crops and fallow spraying.

“The 2015-16 season was the worst in memory for spray drift impact on cotton crops, and Cotton Australia is again undertaking a massive effort this season to combat the threat,” Mr Kay says.

“At least 60,000 hectares of cotton was damaged last season, affecting more than 20% of the nation’s crop. Damage was estimated to be more than $20 million, so we are taking this issue very seriously.”

“We urge all farmers, no matter what crop they are growing, to access tools to protect their crops from off-target spray drift, and prevent damage to neighbouring farms.”

Mr Kay says that the vast majority of Australian cotton growers map their fields using CottonMap to ensure all farmers in their area can check the location of nearby cotton farms and avoid unacceptable spray drift damage.

“We ask people to be mindful of weather conditions and to check CottonMap to identify nearby cotton farms before applying weed control. Respect for your neighbours and their ability to earn a decent income from their operation is critical.”

“We also remind cotton growers, farm managers, consultants, agronomists and contractors to input their cotton fields into CottonMap and help protect their crop.”

CottonMap is a collaboration between Cotton Australia, Nufarm Australia Limited, the Cotton Research and Development Corporation (CRDC) and the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC).

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