2018 Monsanto Grower of the Year

Brett Corish

Property

‘Mundine’, Goondiwindi, Qld

Owners

Brett, Simon and Peter Corish, Corish Management Pty Ltd

Total enterprise size

10,000 ha

Area to cotton 2017/2018

900 ha, est. 12.5 bales/ha

Water allocation

6,000 ML

Type/s of irrigation

Furrow, Bankless, Drip and Centre Pivot

Brett Corish is an innovative cotton grower who is committed to farming for the future. Located near Goondiwindi, ’Mundine’ is a 10,000 hectare property consisting of 2,000 hectares of developed country, 2,500 hectares of dryland and a grazing operation. Since taking charge of the property Brett has implemented changes to improve water efficiency and yields. He is inventive in his approach to overcoming challenges on farm, and his extensive involvement in research trials and industry bodies, enables him to remain at the forefront of new technologies.

Brett has directed the transition from siphon to bankless irrigation which has, so far, achieved water savings of 5 to 10 percent while also increasing yields by a similar margin. The bankless irrigation has also allowed quicker recycling of tail water, more evenness of flow and requires only one person to irrigate large areas. Brett had designed a pop-up water indicator on newly developed areas of bankless irrigation fields where the water triggers a mechanism to raise a flag and indicate the position of the water. This has improved time efficiency as there is little need to manually check the position of the water. Brett has also introduced subsurface drip irrigation and has remaining areas of siphon irrigation.

His well developed farm management, with a strong focus on monitoring performance and setting benchmarks, has lead to a prolonged period of high yields. Brett also places a strong focus on reducing cost of production. He is constantly trialing new ideas such as reconfiguring machinery and looking at ways to reduce passes through timing. He also pays close attention to educating the staff around siphon usage and demonstrating siphon positioning and placement which can double water use efficiency.

Close attention to detail and sophisticated monitoring enables Brett to reduce fertiliser inputs. Soil and tissue testing and satellite imagery are frequently employed to ensure the most accurate application rates. Manure from his sheep feedlot is utilised each year as part of their fertiliser program, while a wheat and barley rotation is also employed to improve the health of the soil. Strict farm hygiene practices help keep soil diseases minimal. “We try and pay particular attention to detail,” he says. “We look at what we’re trying to achieve right across the business, not just in our irrigated country but also in our drylands farming and our stock.”

Brett believes family support and exceptional staff are among the greatest assets of the business. With low turnover and good staff retention he is able to achieve continuity in the running of the farm. The business employs four full-time staff members, two of whom have worked on ‘Mundine’ for over a decade. “I work very closely with my brother, my father and staff,” Brett explains. “Keeping regular staff here on a full-time basis is fantastic.”

From water boards to coach of the junior rugby team, Brett’s community involvement is extensive. It has also included Cotton Growers Association, field day committees and Border River Food and Fibre Committee.  He works tirelessly to change negative perceptions of farming and improve water security. “The greatest challenge in our business is ensuring that we’re sustainable into the future through profitability, through the environment and also management of all the socio-economic values throughout farming,” Brett says. “It’s about making a good return out of the hard work we put into it but also being sustainable so we’re here for a long time and are able to pass it onto our children.”

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