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CRDC directors go on farm with St George growers (9 November 2018)

The board of the Cotton Research and Development Corporation (CRDC) visited St George on 7-8 November for a board meeting and to meet with local cotton growers. CRDC Chair Richard Haire, Executive Director Bruce Finney (who will step down from his position in January) and the CRDC Directors were all present.

CRDC delivers outcomes in cotton research, development and extension (RD&E) for the Australian cotton industry. It is a partnership between the Commonwealth Government and cotton growers, investing in world-leading RD&E to benefit Australia’s dynamic cotton industry, and the wider community.

While in St George, the CRDC Directors undertook visits to the properties of cotton growers Rob Jakins and Glenn Rogan, along with other local growers, consultants, and CRDC-supported researchers. The visits enabled an opportunity for the board to converse with local growers, discuss research priorities directly, and see some of CRDC’s investments in innovation and transformative technologies first hand.

Rob Jakins presented an on-site overview of his tail water re-use irrigation system, designed to improve water use efficiency, and ease both irrigation and field operations. While on site, the group heard from CRDC-supported researchers, Cheryl McCarthy, Derek Long and Alison McCarthy, who spoke about innovations in irrigation and sensor technology.

The group then visited the Rogan family property to inspect a crop of ‘winter’ cotton. This involves an experimental planting of cotton prior to the winter period, which is then re-activated by the warming spring weather. Water efficiency is the aim with the plant re-starting growth with a developed root system and a plant structure, in the cooler part of the growing season.

CRDC had supported Glenn through a series of start-up science programs, aimed at building capacity for grower-led research, and developing entrepreneurial skills. Importantly, there are regulatory requirements involved, with this experiment is being conducted under a specific research permit, that allows Glenn to grow cotton outside of the traditional planting window, and with consideration of key factors, such as mitigating biosecurity risks. 

The group then heard more from CRDC-supported researchers: Claire Welsh spoke about her research into plant hormones and their use to control the expression of a range of plant characteristics. Patrick Filipi followed with a presentation on the use ‘big data’ analysis to aid in better farming decisions.

The tour was followed by an industry dinner, in which growers and local cotton service providers joined the CRDC Directors for dinner.

Pictured: CRDC's Bruce Finney with St George grower Glenn Rogan.