Taking a window of opportunity paid off for David and Julie Bellato who were recently named the Southern Valley Cotton Growers Association grower of the year.
At Coleambally the Bellato's planted 140 hectares of irrigated cotton between October 10 and 15 last year on bankless channel with a 1.8 metre row spacing.
Mr Bellato said they usually aim to plant between the last week of September and first week of October but wet weather pushed it back.
"With the spring rains it was hard to get in that window," he said.
The paddocks planted first achieved the higher yields, reaching up to 9.5 bales/ha, while the later paddocks achieved 7.5 bales/ha, with an average across the crop of 8.2 bales/ha.
While Mr Bellato said he was not particularly happy with the yields at the time, as the season wore on and yields across the district were reported he thought they were not too bad.
He said it all came down to trying to pick the right window.
"Some soils we were able to get in a little bit earlier," he said.
"We could get on the little bit lighter country and left the heavier stuff until last.
"Fortunately I've only got a six row planter with a light tractor - maybe that helped float across the country a little bit better compared to carrying an eight or 12 row planter behind.
"I think that helped."
Mr Bellato said only phosphorus went underneath and about 200kg of urea went on in two waterings around Christmas.
The crop was picked about the end of May and he said that allowed them a good window for the next crop.
"Fortunately we got it off early enough to get the durum wheat crop back in after harvest," he said.
Mr Bellato said the 140ha of cotton grown was about normal and they also grew about 200ha of maize and popcorn.
"I also grew 150ha of soybeans last year after the wheat came off," he said.
"We had a fair bit of water to spare so we use soybeans as an opportunity crop if the water is there."
Getting close to planting for this season's cotton crop Mr Bellato said ground preparation was on time.
"We're bed shaping and rolling, there's a good week of warm weather coming up so I'd say hopefully towards the end of September we'll be planting this year," he said.
"We'll sow dry and water up. We can start planting four or fiver days out of watering up and if there's an opportunity there to start planting we'll start and water up when the ground temperature is right to go.
"We need to see a good week of warm weather after that to get things going."
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