Stories: On the Farm
Tim and Sally Watson - Hillston, NSW, Australia
Challenging Conventions to Minimise Costs
Australian cotton growers Tim and Sally Watson strive to be least-cost producers of the highest quality fibre on their property, “Lane’s Bridge” in Hillston, New South Wales. Their 14 years of experience have culminated in a resourceful enterprise that demonstrates the innovative and progressive nature of Australia’s cotton industry.
“Lane’s Bridge” challenges the traditional format of a cotton farm, with 700 of the 730 hectares planted to cotton and the remainder to watermelons, beetroots and wheat. A secure, high-quality water allocation is the farm’s most precious resource, and it is managed efficiently to produce extremely high yields. For example, the 2013/14 cotton season produced 12.8 bales per hectare, 30% higher than the national average.
The Watsons meet all challenges on “Lane’s Bridge” with home-grown innovation. Nitrogen is carefully applied using reference strips that indicate when fertiliser is needed. Residual herbicides are constantly monitored so as to not impact crops or bee populations, and solar-powered bores reduce the reliance on electricity.
They base crop management decisions on thorough research and analysis, challenging conventions and taking well-executed risks with great results for farm productivity and the environment.