Cotton growers across eight cotton growing valleys are set to benefit from local research projects, developed and driven by their local Cotton Grower Associations (CGAs).
Nine local research projects have been successful in receiving grants of up to $10,000 under CRDC’s Grassroots Grants program in 2015-16. The grants aim to support capacity building projects for growers in cotton communities.
CRDC’s Executive Director Bruce Finney says the grants are designed to help growers to set up their own local project - be it a weather station, supporting growers to undertake tactical research to solve a particular on farm issue or other initiatives that build capacity within the industry.
“Our Grassroots Grants provide growers with opportunities for local action and innovation to complement whole of industry RD&E, making beneficial on-the ground gains,” Bruce said. "They also have a legacy effect - they provide skills to growers about how to address local issues and needs, improve their capacity to devise and manage projects and offer the option to collaborate with other funding bodies to extend or enhance projects.
“A good example of this is the Dawson Valley CGAs project, which will use the funding to install local weather stations, providing relevant local weather coverage and data and better information to growers to base decisions on. Meanwhile, the industry as a whole benefits from projects like that of the Gwydir Valley CGA, which looks to better understand water-use efficiency and yield under different row configurations through a localised trial. This has cross-industry benefits, with the learnings from the Gwydir able to be transferred to other regions.
“The promotion of local, grower-led research to the greater industry is invaluable,” said Bruce.
The nine successful projects under this year’s CRDC Grassroots Grants are:
- An in-field research trial comparing dryland cotton to dryland sorghum on various row configurations, Mungindi CGA
- A dryland planting date row configuration trial, Gwydir Valley CGA
- An optimised irrigation row configuration trial, Gwydir Valley CGA
- The purchase and installation of weather stations to provide local weather data access, Dawson Valley CGA
- In-field trials to address local barriers to cotton growing, and exposure to the cotton industry for the Binnia Valley Growers Group, Upper Namoi CGA
- An upgrade to the weather station network, plus the hosting of chemical application days, Darling Downs CGA
- Irrigation scheduling training using canopy sensors, Lower Namoi
- Strengthening CGA policy and procedures through the development of a manual, Central Highlights Cotton Growers & Irrigators Association
- Seasonal benchmarking with canopy temperature sensors, Macquarie
CRDC established the successful Grassroots Grants program in 2011. Since inception, CRDC has invested over $370,000 in 42 grower-led projects. Applications for the next round of Grassroots Grants will open in July 2016. For more information on the program, click here.