Back Paddock Agronomist Robyn Tuck talks with experienced Nutrien Ag Solutions agronomists about the role of soil/plant testing and SoilMate in their business.

Maurilio Rezende of Nutrien Ag Mareeba

“Many of my clients, says Maurilio, are going into cotton for the first time as GM were favourable as well as the appearance of the FAW. The first 7 ha of cotton was grown in 2019, last year the crop was 9000ha. New farmers and they rely on me to lead them into the production of cotton as well as corn, sorghum, soys and forage crops.  I rely heavily on the SoilMate program, the decades of expertise and Australian science-based data embedded in the SoilMate program gives me confidence in the recommendations I am developing. The experience and support of Chris Dowling is greatly valued because cotton hasn’t been grown on these soils. I often discuss my recommendations with Chris. The timing and placement of nitrogen is critical in this area.

I use SoilMate, and I’m confident I am always delivering quality recommendations”

Based in Mareeba & Tolga, with Cloncurry and Richmond branches also becoming part of the area, Maurilio is providing expert advice in this rapidly growing frontier cotton production area.

Maurilio moved to far north Queensland in 2020 after 10 years in the Riverina.

”We had a massive year for rain-grown cotton in 2022, with 9000ha of cotton grown here. The first crop of cotton in 2019 was just 7ha. Traditionally the area has been grazing and other crops such as corn peanuts sorghum but, infestations of Fall armyworm, a highly invasive pest, forced growers to look at other crops. Over the last few years, a better understanding of the pests life-cycle of this pest has meant better management strategies and more control. This year the cotton is back to probably around 5000 ha with commodity prices better for other crops.

I use Back Paddocks SoilMate program for all my recommendations, and I rely heavily on the experience that is embedded in it. It gives me trust and confidence in my work, in making recommendations. I use it as much as possible; it’s got so much information in it. Most of my customers are new to cotton and really rely on me to lead them into the cotton growing industry.

I usually recommend comprehensive soil tests and use monitoring sites across the farm. I take soil samples every year and sample 0-30cm and 30-90cm. It’s important because we need to know where the nitrogen is, and how much is there. We try to encourage improving root development to drought proof the crop as much as possible.”

soil testing rig, soil, soil testing