It is all systems go in the Macquarie Valley as a number of Bollgard 3 XtendFlex trials are underway ahead of favourable seasonal conditions.
CSD Macquarie Valley extension and development agronomist, Craig McDonald, has hit the ground running with nine sites across Warren, Narromine, Bourke, Forbes and Condobolin.
The trials are part of the 50,000 hectare permit issued by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority for the use of the chemistry containing dicamba and Xtendimax 2.
With six different varieties, five of which are new Bollgard 3 XtendFlex lines, included in the trial Mr McDonald aims to extensively examine yield, fibre quality and disease resistance.
"We have a whole new suite of varieties that are getting better and better so it is actually quite exciting to see them come through," he said.
"People have got a lot of experience with the existing varieties but over the next two years we'll see a transition to the newer ones."
Bollgard 3 XtendFlex has a tolerance to three herbicides, dicamba, glyphoste and glufosinate, giving growers more flexibility against tough-to-control and resistance weeds.
It also offers an increased spectrum of worm control, which can reduce the number of sprays and potential crop damage.
Given the current impact of disease, especially verticillium, Mr McDonald said the new varieties will be important.
"They will be good for weed control and problem weeds, particularly when targeting weeds when they're small," he said.
Approximately 23 hectare was planted successfully near Narromine on October 10, a stark difference to the wet conditions Mr McDonald faced last year.
The new green coloured seed was planted at a depth of 2.5 centimetres in one meter row configurations with 16 rows per treatment repeated four times.
"Now is a good time for planting, but because it has been hot and cold some growers have decided to hold off and wait for conditions to stay warmer," he said.
"We're paying a lot of attention to soil temperatures, making sure they're at least 14 degrees and rising.
"We urge farmers to look at the soil temperature as well as the seven day forecast as it is important for germination and establishment.
"The latest soil temp, the seven day forecast and a planting score can be accessed via the CSD website."
While the trial aims to assess disease resistance and record fibre quality, Mr McDonald said yield remains king.
"We'll be testing for yield most importantly, as yield is what pays the bills," he said.
"Depending on the season, we're hoping for bales per hectare in the mid teens, but more would be good.
"Years ago we used to budget on about seven bales per hectare then it went to ten and now with breeding and better crop management we can push for more yield.
"Again, depending on the season we're hoping to pick in April or May given it is in at a good time."
The irrigated crop near Narromine has a 50 per cent water allocation from the river, with access to carry over water.
Given there are also bores in the local area Mr McDonald remains very optimistic for the water supply.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.