Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Cottoning Crop Pays on to New off for Tim

Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Cottoning Crop Pays on to New off for Tim

Article excerpt

TONI SOMES

Reporter

A WISE (farming) bloke once told Tim Thorne if you protect yourself from risk, you protect yourself from profit.

It's a mantra the Allora grain grower has lived by ever since.

Last October he and his wife Narelle took a gamble and planted 160 hectares of genetically modified cotton: 65 hectares on their home property and 95 hectares on country they lease on the Wheatvale plains.

It is cultivated country they would usually have dedicated to corn or cereal crops like sorghum, but increasing pest and weed pressure coupled with lacklustre grain prices forced them to change tactics.

C[pounds sterling]We didn't plant corn because we had disease issues and we'd had slug problems in previous crops,C[yen] he explained.

C[pounds sterling]Then after the floods weed control became a major problem.C[yen]

When Mr Thorne lists the reasons for choosing cotton he jokingly says the possibility of making money ranked about number 20.

But the simple fact was with corn and sorghum prices hovering around the $160/tonne, planting an alternative crop seemed a reasonable risk.

This week when the Bush Telegraph visited the couple they were anxiously awaiting the arrival of contract pickers with the cotton ripe and ready to come off.

After eight months of losing sleep while their first cotton crop was exposed to the mercy of the elements, they are keen to see it bailed and deposited in the gin at Cecil Plains.

C[pounds sterling]As a crop cotton has such a long season that we've definitely lost a lot of sleep,C[yen] Mr Thorne laughed.

C[pounds sterling]We really won't know how successful it's been as a crop until it's picked.C[yen]

What they do know now is before you even plant your first cotton seeds there are accreditation courses which need to be completed and C[pounds sterling]catchC[yen] crops to be planned to reduce the risk of pests like heliotheis spreading.

Then there is getting mulch levels, fruit retention, bulb counts, mulching and pupae busting.

C[pounds sterling]There is certainly a lot to it,C[yen] the local grower admitted. …

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