WEE Waa senior agronomist Shane Kable said there is still hope for this seasons cotton hectares to increase.
Mr Kable said clients of AgnVet Agribusiness Services were well organised for cotton plant, though hectares would be reduced.
“They’ve had a lot of time to do ground prep as there has been no rain.”
“It’s not looking very promising as there is reduced allocation out of the river,” he said.
The latest report on water allocation from Water NSW said the general security allocation for the lower Namoi would remain at 7.08%.
Water NSW said below average rainfall during August had only produced minor inflows into upper storages. As a result, Water NSW decided there was insufficient resource improvement to increase allocations.
The report stated that Keepit Dam at 292,000 megalitres (ML) sits at 68 per cent full, compared to 55 per cent full at the same time last year.
While Split Rock Dam is 30 per cent full at 122,000 ML which is about double its holdings from last year.
Mr Kable said bore water would likely remain unchanged, and so would planting.
To plant dryland cotton there needed to be significant rainfall events, even on the better country, he said.
“You would need somewhere between 4 and 12 inches of rain, depending on how far east or west you are to begin with.”
Dryland cotton paddocks, he said, would mainly be planted on a long-fallow following wheat to ensure sub-soil moisture was adequate.
Mr Kable said even with a long fallow it would be unlikely soils had a full moisture profile.
“There has been insignificant fallow rainfall since last wheat harvest in most areas.”
“There is still a lot of intention there but they need a significant amount of rain to make it happen.” he said.
The topsoil is dry, so they can’t take a punt, it’s too dry to sow, but the intention to grow cotton is still there.
Mr Kable said prospective price was one reason growers had not ruled out dryland.
“The prices are promising, it’s looking like cotton will still be attractive compared to alternative summer crops such as sorghum.”
Mr Kable said dryland growers could not start to plant until a significant rainfall event, even if they wanted to take the risk.
“The topsoil is dry, so they can’t take a punt, it’s too dry to sow, but the intention to grow cotton is still there.”