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Comparing dryland cotton with other crops

Is dryland cotton any harder to grow than other summer crops?  Are there any more risks?

Some growers think Dryland Cotton is risky and the initial investment is too expensive. Nothing could be further from the truth.The fact is, growing Dryland Cotton is now a lot easier and more profitable with the advances in biotechnology.

Read more about why more growers are realising the benefits of growing dryland cotton.


What are the benefits of adding Dryland Cotton to my rotation?

Incorporate cotton into your dryland rotation, for a disease and weed break into the crop rotation plan. With Dryland Cotton you can have simplified weed management and greater flexibility – the ability to adjust depending on moisture availability, disease risks and the likely returns for each crop.

Have a look at ways you can incorporate cotton into your dryland rotation.


What is the best way to plant dryland cotton to utilise the moisture profile?

The vigorous tap root system of cotton means the roots explore much wider for moisture and nutrients. Wider row configurations are used to increase the total amount of soil moisture available to the plants. This extends the time before in-crop rainfall is required and making the most of available rainfall, and the crop less reliant on in-crop rainfall particularly in the first two to three months of its life.

Narrow row configurations are more popular in areas with higher and more reliable rainfall. There is also a strong relationship between row configuration and fibre quality, especially for fibre length. In row configuration trials, fibre quality improved with wider row configurations.


What cotton varieties are best suited to dryland in my region?

View which varieties are suited to your region, based on your growing conditions.


Dryland cotton gross margins

What are the gross margins of dryland cotton in comparison with other summer crops?

It’s well documented dryland cotton growers achieve higher returns over the cropping cycle compared with solely grain-based rotations.

Advances in biotechnology have resulted in the need to use fewer insecticide sprays to manage pests, meaning reduced labour, lower costs and a more manageable cash flow.

Plus, a new suite of high yielding and high quality varieties for dryland cotton are highly adapted for dryland production, giving you the opportunity to maximise returns while minimising risks.

Read more about how dryland cotton can give you better gross margins.


Performance of dryland cotton

What is the average yield of dryland cotton?

The overall trend for average yields of dryland cotton in Australia has increased since the late 1980s. View historical performance for dryland cotton. .


Do you have to grow any other crops to maintain dryland cotton?

Every Bollgard II and Bollgard 3 cotton crop must have an associated refuge crop. The refuge produces large numbers of Bt susceptible Helicoverpa spp. moths, minimising resistance.

Dryland growers can select between unsprayed cotton, unsprayed pigeon pea and sprayed cotton. For full details on refuge requirements, refer to the Central Queensland Cotton Essentials Guide or Southern Queensland New South Wales Cotton Essentials Guide  for the Resistance Management Plan.


Row configurations for dryland cotton

What is row configuration and what are the benefits?

Row configuration is the spacing between rows of cotton, such as single skip, double skip or super single. By choosing the right row configuration for your operation, you can significantly increase profits and reduce risk for your dryland crop.


What’s the best configuration for soils with less than ideal soil moisture?

Cotton should only be planted on a full profile of moisture.

Double Skip row configuration is best suited to drier profiles and hotter environments. However, it has an average yield potential about 39% less than solid plant. Plants can be prone to lodging, especially vegetative branches, which take advantage of the extra light available in the skip area.