It has been a promising start to the 2017/18 cotton season, with a number of rain events helping to get crop growth off to a good start. It’s now time to monitor nitrogen levels, manage in-crop fertiliser inputs and maintain crop yield potential. One of the best ways to do this is with a consistent leaf and petiole testing program.

Grain growers across northern New South Wales and Queensland are now experiencing a vastly improved cropping outlook, thanks to good rainfall in October.

Cotton and summer crop growers are being warned to take extra care when planting this season, especially if planting dry and then watering up or planting following recent rainfall.

Agronomists working with northern summer crop growers will be familiar with the research of Professor Mike Bell and others to identify the need for deep phosphorus and understand the best ways to supply it.

There’s a lot to like about the start of the season for irrigated cotton growers, with healthy cotton prices and dry soils making the upcoming ground preparation and pre-plant fertiliser work easier. By now, many growers will have either commissioned their adviser to design an appropriate post-harvest soil sampling program, or they may have completed their post-harvest soil testing programs and will soon know of any nutritional deficits.

When the cotton has been picked and the season is over, what’s next?

One of the best ways to guide summer crops towards their productive potential is to plan a tissue testing program.

Leaf and petiole sampling is a vital part of any comprehensive fertiliser program for cotton, helping growers to maintain crop yield potential at its peak.

Dryland cotton growers may be missing out on yield if they plant without phosphorus fertiliser.