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Cotton crop

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.

Soil test

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.

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.

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 (link to resources - 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 plant isolated on white

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.

Post harvest
Objective
Break down stubble determine soil needs.
Activity
Apply nitrogen with stubble digester. Perform soil tests.
BioAg Product
Digest-it for Stubble: 4L/ha apply with 4 – 5kg of N/ha.
Prior to sowing
Objective
Build soil nutrition and structure.
Activity
Apply capital fertilisers with ameliorants.
BioAg Product
BioAgPhos: 200 – 400kg/ha rates based on soil test results). Apply with lime, gypsum, compost and preplant N.
Planting
Objective
Support germination and early emergence.
Activity
Apply starter fertiliser with a soil biotsimulant to enhance nutrient uptake and early root growth.
BioAg Product
Soil & Seed: 4 – 8L/ha in furrow.
Planting
Objective
Support germination and early emergence.
Activity
Apply starter fertiliser with a soil biotsimulant to enhance nutrient uptake and early root growth.
BioAg Product
Soil & Seed: 2 – 4L/ha water run 21 days apart. Rate dependent on field layout.
Mid season
Objective
Encourage vegetative growth and combat stresses.
Activity
Apply required nutrients and stimulants.
BioAg Product
Balance & Grow: 2 – 3L/ha with chemicals.
First bloom
Objective
Encourage vegetative growth and combat stresses.
Activity
Apply required nutrients and stimulants.
BioAg Product
Balance & Grow: 2 – 3L/ha with chemicals.
Pix applications
Objective
Support flow of nutrients to cotton-bolls.
Activity
Apply a foliar biostimulant to promote nutrient uptake and translocation.
BioAg Product
Fruit & Balance: 2 – 4L/ha 1st pix spray.
Pix applications
Objective
Support flow of nutrients to cotton-bolls.
Activity
Apply a foliar biostimulant to promote nutrient uptake and translocation.
BioAg Product
Fruit & Balance: 1 – 3L/ha 2nd pix spray.

Cotton resources

  • USA cotton independent trials 2013 – 2018

    This report details the outcomes of trials performed on Cotton. Each year, a full biostimulant treatment was applied to a fertiliser application representing Grower Standard Practice (GSP), and another representing GSP less 15% Nitrogen. Several additional biostimulant ...

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  • Breeza cotton independent trial 2012

    This trial was conducted over a 5ha area at ‘Gowangardi’ near Breeza in NSW. The trial aim was to evaluate the effectiveness of BioAg bio-stimulants for improving the growth and subsequent yield of irrigated cotton. The BioAg treatment, employing BioAgPhos, Soil & Seed,...

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  • Regenerative agriculture

    The term regenerative agriculture has become aligned, or associated hand in hand, with the improvement of soils, improved soil fertility, and the benefits this provides to farms and rural communities. The approach typically promoted is a holistic one, taking into accoun...

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Recommended products

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BioAgPhos

Solid Fertiliser

Highly reactive phosphate fertiliser made from high-grade reactive phosphate rock combined with BioAg’s microbial digesting agent.

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Soil & Seed

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Formulated to improve soil microbial activity, natural soil fertility and moisture and nutrient utilisation.

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Formulated to increase vegetative growth, root development and soil microbial activity. Ideal for broadacre, pastures and horticulture.

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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.

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Digest-it for Stubble

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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.

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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.