THE introduction of Bollgard III to the industry has been a game changer in many ways, and Kelly O’Neill, AgNVet, Emerald, said suppliers have felt the pressure.
Ms O’Neill has been working as an agronomist for 18 years, and with AgNVet Emerald for three.
She said while Bollgard III had been an overwhelmingly positive step for the cotton industry, widening the planting window was not without teething issues.
With this season the first to see the variety planted commercially, she said agronomists and suppliers were yet to know it as well as they would like.
“With the open window for planting times, the crop has been so varied across the board,” she said.
“We are now out (bug) checking for ten months of the year, not six.”
But as well as the increased time required in the field for agronomists, she said logistically it was proving difficult for chemical suppliers to gauge how much product they would require.
Ms O’Neill said the season was now not only more drawn out than in the past, but growers were also all at different stages at different times.
“We now have to carry chemical and fertiliser for a lot longer,” she said.
In the past, Emerald and Central Queensland growers had the advantage of being one of the first in the state to plant, with chemical and fertiliser suppliers able to sell their product south to regions behind them if they did not require it throughout the season.
Without this option, all suppliers in Queensland are vying for the same products at the same time, and will have limited chance to on-sell to other regions, with everyone facing the same battles.
With planting open from August 1 until December 31 last year, all regions saw growers planting at either end of the window, as well as throughout it.
Generally speaking, the earlier-planted cotton fared well in Central Queensland, with later cotton bearing the brunt of recent rain and wind.
Ms O’Neill said continually attempting to forecast when the chemical and fertiliser needs would be for the region was a new challenge for the industry.
With two farms to look after this year, Ms O’Neill said she is focused on attempting to grow her client base.
For more on the current season, see page 7.