Research and development has been vital in the continued success of cotton growing in Australia, with the collaboration of industry and scientists looking into areas such as irrigation, fertiliser, soil, crop physiology, and insect, weed and disease management. In addition, the use of biotechnology has helped reduce pesticide use by more than 85 per cent since the early 2000s.
Specific considerations for cotton
Cotton is a high input crop, in terms of nutrition, chemicals and water. Nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) is an important factor. Applying more N doesn’t necessarily mean more N is being utilised by the crop. It is recognised that soil health is a determinate to NUE, and therefore overall cotton yields. Ongoing use of chemicals as well as flooding negatively impact soil health.
Supporting soil function and building overall soil fertility are a key part of a BioAg program. Use of sustained release P fertiliser, as a source of capital P, supplies P when water soluble forms may have locked up or are exhausted, supporting crops throughout the season. Inclusion of soil and foliar biostimulants is specifically targeted for times when soils or crops are stressed.
BioAg’s soil biostmulant contains a diverse range of plant and microbial food sources, including labile carbon, which aids rhizosphere recovery from abiotic stresses, such as inundation/flooding and heat. Supporting the rhizosphere improves access and uptake of nutrients.
The BioAg approach
BioAg nutrition programs are incorporated into a growers current nutrition program. Our objective is to make fertiliser and other inputs work better and build and support healthy and balanced soils and plants. Programs are custom-made for each block, using advanced soil and tissue analysis. These integrated programs typically incorporate a range of BioAg solid and liquid nutrients, often associated with conventional inputs. BioAg fertility programs can be developed to meet organic certification requirements.
An experienced and Fertcare accredited BioAg agronomist works with you and provides technical expertise on your crop. If you don’t already have recent soil test data, we arrange a soil test for you. The results provide essential information about the soil fertility and soil structure for better performance. Download the BioAg soil sampling procedure here.
A tailored program
Based on the results of soil tests, crop requirements and other factors such as soil structure, climate, history of the block, and targets that you are trying to achieve, we provide a tailored program that aims to improve soil fertility and maximise yield response. We support you through the program to ensure that inputs are applied at the right time, in the right way.
Leaf and tissue testing
Any nutritional program cannot foresee the changes in weather, disease, or pests, that may impact a crop. During the season, growers may observe issues or evidence of stress in their crop. This may be due to greater growth or yields than planned, a trace element shortage or abiotic stresses. An on-farm inspection and associated leaf or tissue tests will promptly identify any issues, which can quickly be addressed by applying the appropriate inputs. Download the BioAg leaf sampling procedure here.
High yielding crops require fertile balanced soils
Key to highly productive crops is the function of soils. Soil structure, chemistry and biology are critical in supporting crops throughout the growing season. By improving all aspects of the soil, crops will benefit from improved access to moisture, due to improved infiltration and water holding capacity, improved access to nutrition through improved nutrient cycling, fixation (for N) and a reduction in loss pathways, improved resilience to abiotic stresses and disease, improved root growth providing access to additional moisture and nutrients as well as improved carbon sequestration and a range of other benefits (click for more on soil health).
Beneficial microorganisms stimulate the plant’s root growth and help protect it from abiotic stresses. This is made possible through mutually beneficial relationships that microbes develop with plants, for example mycorrhizal associations. BioAg products programs supply essential macronutrients (N, P, K, S, Ca), trace elements (B, Zn, Cu etc.), microbial food and metabolites beneficial microorganisms that colonise root systems, improving soil function, plant health and productivity.
Cotton– key features of a BioAg program
The following table illustrates the cropping process and potential solutions depending on soil test results and other contributing factors. Call your BioAg Area Manager to discuss your individual needs.
Highly reactive phosphate fertiliser made from high-grade reactive phosphate rock combined with BioAg’s microbial digesting agent.
Soil & Seed
Formulated to improve soil microbial activity, natural soil fertility and moisture and nutrient utilisation.
Balance & Grow
Formulated to increase vegetative growth, root development and soil microbial activity. Ideal for broadacre, pastures and horticulture.
Fruit & Balance
Formulated to increase flowering, fruit set and soil microbial activity. Fruit & Balance enhances the nutritional value and quality of fruit or grain by increasing plant sugar levels.
Digest-it for Stubble
Formulated to accelerate the microbial breakdown of cellulose and other plant matter. Digests stubbles, residues, and other organic wastes into humus. Ideal for use as a compost starter.
Committed to organics
With a core range of natural fertilisers and biostimulants, BioAg can offer an extensive range of products certified by Australian Organics, suitable for use in organic systems.