2017-18 has seen BioAg working alongside Tim and Roger Commins (Commins Enterprises) in establishing 300 hectares of cotton demonstration blocks in the Riverina/MIA.
To an extent, the 2017-18 season has been a case of making up for lost ground following a cool and damp establishment period during late September/early October.
Extended periods of warm weather and radiation since that time have helped develop plant structures and fruit positioning prior to flowering and boll development.
The BioAg cotton crop demonstration blocks in the Riverina/MIA have been progressing extremely well throughout the vegetative, reproductive and ripening stages.
These blocks include 200 hectares at Gogelderie and another 100 near Bringagee, both of which were pre-treated with BioAgPhos (BioAg’s microbially enhanced Reactive Phosphate Rock (RPR) fertiliser) blended with AgLime and gypsum.
Both blocks were then injected along the plant line with BioAg’s microbial stimulant and microbe source Soil & Seed at 10 L/Ha; and BioAg CuZin (a solution of copper and zinc) at 6 L/Ha.
October 2017: Highlighting the differences in emergence between the untreated (far left) and treated blocks.
Multiple treatments within the programs allowed for split foliar applications completely down the 1.1 km roll-over bays on the Gogelderie blocks, and on the entire 25 Ha blocks near Bringagee.
BioAg’s Riverina Area Manager Rob Gill worked alongside farm owners Roger and Tim, and their farm managers in setting up the demonstration trials to ensure treatments were adjacent to Grower Practice control blocks.
The contracted crop-checking service of Allan Jones and Scott Stoll (Agronomic Business Solutions) to Tim and Roger ensured trial integrity across both sites.
Leading up to November, an application of BioAg’s Balance & Grow (B&G) at 2 L/Ha, calcium nitrate and R/Up Ready herbicide was applied via ground rig targeting 33% of the planted area at 5-7 nodes.
This was followed up with a second pass of Balance & Grow (2 L/Ha) and calcium nitrate (tank mixed) over 50% of the area prior to cotton canopy closure.
These B&G/calcium nitrate applications resulted in significantly accelerated growth throughout November due to the delivery of trace elements, calcium nitrate and 13 different amino acids.
Throughout late November and into December, the response to the BioAg program compared to the control blocks became increasingly obvious, with treated areas setting and retaining more squares in 1st and 2nd position.
January 2018: Highlighting the increased growth and consistent fruit-set in the treated blocks (left) compared to the control (far left).
In the later vegetative period leading up to first flower, it is important to promote node growth above white flower.
Cotton Seed Distributors’ (CSD) southern NSW manager Jorian Millyard advises that a key of 8+ NAWF indicates the capacity and resilience within the plant to handle minor stress and setbacks[i], like the heat stresses from the +44 degree days we experienced in January.
At first flower, BioAg Fruit & Balance (F&B) at 3 L/Ha was applied across 100% of the BioAg treated blocks.
Fruit & Balance is the third and last stimulation phase of the BioAg program.
It provides a complex balanced supply of vitamins, amino acids, proteins, growth promoters and carbohydrates, along with phosphate and calcium.
It also maximises the plant’s phosphate supply at a time when the cotton plant is under peak load, stimulating the plants physiology and promoting strong fruiting.
In crop assessment (at 1st flower)
The following data was collated by CSD over the monitoring period up until first flower, and was captured from randomly accessed 1-metre rows across the BioAg treated and control blocks (as per accepted industry standards).
The BioAg data (green) has then been compared against recognised key growth metrics (pink), and the average of the control blocks (blue).
Despite a tough establishment year with cold stresses early on and heat stresses since January, at first flower the BioAg treated blocks are on target with key cotton growth metrics and ahead of the Control treatments.
Following is the Grower Practice (GP) used on the Control blocks in this demonstration.
Preplant: A combination of manure, AgLime, Gypsum, MAP, and liquid NPS fertiliser.
Planting: A combination of pesticide and liquid NPK fertiliser with Zinc.
Post Emergence: Liquid nitrogen applications.
[i] CSD Extension and Development Team, 2018, ‘Germinating Ideas’, The Australian Cottongrower, vol. 38, no. 7, pp63-65.