Southern Cotton targets potential new growers at field days

Southern Cotton is due to hit the one million bale milestone and will at Henty to speak to existing and potential growers. Image by Nathan Dyer.

With cotton emerging as one of the Riverina’s major irrigated crops, a milestone of one million bales is due to be set by Murrumbidgee Valley gin, Southern Cotton.

This year, Southern Cotton, located at Whitton, will complete its sixth ginning season, and will again exhibit at the Henty Machinery Field Days, providing information to existing and potential new growers.

The Southern Cotton story began in May 2011 when four farmers had a vision for the cotton industry in southern NSW.

They aimed to set up a cotton ginning facility to provide a highly profitable alternative crop for Murrumbidgee Valley farmers, with affordable freight and logistics management.

The multi-award winning, Best Management Practices-accredited gin contains modern drying, cleaning and monitoring equipment to optimise lint quality for the grower.

Southern Cotton general manager Kate O’Callaghan said the team was committed to providing all growers in southern NSW and northern Victoria with support from the paddock to the finished bale and beyond.

“Southern Cotton, as a leading cotton gin in Australia, uses the RFID (radio frequency identification) transmitter in the wrap of every bale,’’ Mrs O’Callaghan said.

“The unique 11-digit number is linked in the picker, and recorder in a text data file for the grower.

“When the round module comes over the weighbridge, the number is scanned into the computer system for processing, and it follows the module right through to the finished bale.’’

Purpose built software is used to report ginning results for each round module to the grower.

The grower can use the reports to look back at paddock records to evaluate quality, yield and paddock management.

“Southern Cotton is a major supporter of the cotton industry in both education and research carried out in the southern valleys,’’ Mrs O’Callaghan said.

“Daily gin tours educate new growers and the community on the sustainability and efficiency of the industry we are so proud of.

“Variety, fertiliser and management trials are ginned by treatment at Southern Cotton, giving researchers valuable data to make recommendations to new growers.

“One million bales is just the beginning for Southern Cotton and our growers – we’re always looking at ways to add value to the service offering and have some exciting initiatives set to hit the market next season.’’