CQ cotton trials hitting success

AUTOMATION: Dr Pendergast with farm owner Cameron Geddes next to the automatic gate on the head ditch.
AUTOMATION: Dr Pendergast with farm owner Cameron Geddes next to the automatic gate on the head ditch. Kelly Butterworth Emecotto

HARVESTING in the coming weeks will wrap up a three-year, $1.3 million research project for a second successful year.

Cotton growers in Central Queensland face a tough set of conditions, and Dr Lance Pendergast is one of many researchers investigating ways to help increase yields.

Last season the Emerald research project achieved a world-first with the successful production of a commercial scale cotton crop using infra-red sensors to determine timing of irrigations.

The Optimising Water and Energy Use in the CQ Irrigation Sector research project is a collaborative effort between the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Cotton Research Development Corporation and CSIRO.

Dr Pendergast is conducting trials in the Emerald irrigation area, and said the Central Queensland region had a raft of issues not faced by cotton growers around the world.

"We have one of the most variable climates in the world," Dr Pendergast said.

"The weather we have in November this year can be quite different to the weather we had in November last year."

With research into infrared sensors, automated irrigation and slightly varying current irrigating techniques, Dr Pendergast said his research was being received well by local growers.

"Well it's pretty typical of research I guess in that there is varying degrees of attention paid by growers.

"Generally speaking they're quite interested in the results," he said.

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