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Growing cotton interest in Northern Australia (15 July 2018)

Cotton research featured strongly at the Northern Australia Food Futures Conference held in July in Darwin, NT.

CRDC Executive Director Bruce Finney along with R&D Manager Allan Williams were invited to speak at the event. This season marks a return to cotton in The Kimberley region of the NT, where early results are positive.

Bruce, Allan and Adam Kay from Cotton Australia spoke in a session focused on cotton, the use of technology and sustainability. They discussed the history, achievements and future of the industry with respect to adopting technology and improving sustainability. 

Through a range of speakers the Conference attendees were informed of the unique challenges of the north, not just climate, but also that of finding sweet spots in terms of right soil type, good water availability, land tenure and access to infrastructure.

“We received positive feedback and support for current research in the Kimberley region of the NT and also for expansion based on those research outcomes,” Bruce said.

“The conference went well with the cotton industry profiled positively as an important component of the future for agriculture in Northern Australia.

“There is strong farmer interest with some committed companies and individuals pioneering commercial cotton production in the north.

“Government and industry support for the success of these pioneers will be a key ingredient in facilitating the confidence and capacity for other farmers to take up the opportunity.

“With that opportunity comes significant responsibility for all involved to adopt responsible practices and ensure sustainable development.

“These new growers will have the resources of more than 30 years of world-leading cotton RD&E as well as willing and capable industry leadership to call upon to assist them.”

In other positive news out of the conference, CSIRO principal research agronomist Steve Yeates was awarded the 2018 Food Futures Innovation Award. Steve has been undertaking the most recent cotton research in the Kimberley and North Queensland. Steve was also a part of research in the Ord early in his career, which spans 33 years.