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Winning cotton growers announced for the 2018-19 FastStart™ Establishment Awards

Pittsworth cotton grower, John Cameron has taken out the dryland cotton category for the FastStart™ Establishment Awards for the 2018-19 season, winning a trip for two to Kununurra and Broome, WA.

Todd Farrer from Merah North in the Lower Namoi region of NSW was the winner of the irrigated category for the FastStart Establishment Awards, also receiving a trip for two to Western Australia.

FastStart is a collaboration between Syngenta and Cotton Seed Distributors (CSD) which funds research and practical solutions to support healthy establishment and robust growth in the early stages of a cotton crop’s life. This season, a competition to compare establishment percentage and uniformity saw over 75 entries across both dryland and irrigated categories.

“There are lots of growers out there doing a fantastic job of optimising their seedling establishment through utilisation of the technology and tools FastStart is providing, and we want to recognise and celebrate this as best practice cotton farming. The Awards are a great way of doing this, as well as sharing what good looks like with other growers,” said Syngenta Seedcare Technical Services Lead, Sean Roberts.

“Achieving even establishment of a cotton crop is critical in getting the crop off to a good start, as it can influence the development of the crop and ultimately, yield and quality at picking,” said CSD Marketing & Extension Lead, James Quinn.

“There are a number of factors that interact to impact on crop establishment including how well the planter is set up, field and soil bed preparation, planting conditions, operator performance and the management of any soil insects and seedling diseases,” said James.

The winning growers also reflected on the award.

“I’m delighted to have won this years’ FastStart Establishment Award in the irrigated cotton category. We have a focus on holistic soil health through crop rotations, early bed preparation and minimal bed disturbance. This, combined with precision planting and FastStart seed treatments have helped us achieve a vigorous and uniform stand for 2018/19. It’s great to be rewarded for this effort,” said Todd Farrer.

“It’s a great honour to win the FastStart Establishment Award in the dryland cotton category. Setting the crop up for a strong season, according to industry best practice recommendations, is front of mind in all of our planting operations and early season management,” said John Cameron.

The FastStart research and development program is funded through a contribution from the sale of CSD seed treated with Syngenta’s cotton Seedcare range. It addresses key grower and industry challenges such as the control of insect pests and diseases, as well investigating complementary technologies to help drive yield potential and minimise risks associated with establishing cotton in Australia.