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Farmers

FARMERS RESEARCH

Cotton is profitable and consistently farmers’ crop of choice.

For our farmers will will deliver a cotton industry that is profitable and consistently crop of choice. Australia’s cotton farmers are recognised as some of the most innovative, adaptable and efficient farmers in the world. Despite this, they continue to face an on-going cost/price squeeze and declining terms of trade.

With no real growth in the value of Australian cotton in the world market over the past 15 years, increasing input costs are outweighing the value created by improvements in yield. In this environment, the challenge for the future profitability of Australia’s cotton farmers is two-fold. Firstly, protecting their crops from attacks by insect pests, weeds and diseases and secondly, optimising the use of inputs such as water, energy and fertiliser to maximise yields and improve cost efficiencies.

These challenges threaten the future profitability of cotton growing and require ongoing improvements to the farming system and development of new innovations. The Farmers program focuses on Successful Crop Protection, Productive Resource Efficiencies and Profitable Futures as the three key themes which will support cotton farmers to be profitable and competitive short, medium and longer term.

Measure of success in this program:

Farmers increase productivity by 3 percent per hectare per year

Theme 1.1 Successful Crop Protection

Significant advancements in protecting the Australian cotton crop from insect pest, weed and disease threats have been achieved in recent times and the introduction of transgenic cotton has seen significant changes in the management practices of cotton farmers and the landscape in which cotton is grown. New challenges for farmers in successfully protecting their crop will likely emerge over the life of this plan.

Tighter regulation of agricultural chemicals could change the cotton industry’s access to products for insect pest and weed management, unexpected adaptations in pest species can enhance their capacity to survive and thrive in the cotton system, and industry will have access to cotton varieties offering only modest/incremental improvements in disease tolerances. Insect pest, weed and disease outbreaks remain largely unpredictable, being driven by changing ecological and climatic conditions. As a result the ability of farmers to constantly adapt their pest, weed and disease management strategies will be vital in successfully protecting their crop. Inthis theme, the RD&E focus is on developing strategies and practices which support farmers to address these challenges and ultimately make them more profitable. 
 

Theme 1.2 Productive Resource Efficiencies

Increasing resource pressures are pushing up input prices (water, energy, fertiliser) and there is a growing need to optimise the use of these inputs in order to remain profitable. Australia’s current globally competitive resource efficiency is not sufficient to sustain the profitability of its cotton production system. This theme will equip farmers to break new ground in the yields of cotton that can be achievedper unit of major inputs – fertiliser, water and energy. RD&E efforts will focus on increasing the quality and accessibility of information for decision making as well as the availability of tools and technologies that facilitate more precise applications of resources.
 

Theme 1.3 Profitable Futures

Cotton growing will continue to evolve. Whether change is driven by productivity constraints, environmental, economic or regulatory factors, the long term profitability of cotton farming will rely on finding innovations and strategies that allow the cotton farming system to adapt. This theme looks to initiate RD&E efforts which deliver these innovations and builds the longer term profitability of cotton production in a changing environment.

The Farmers research program is managed by CRDC’s R&D Program Managers: Susan Maas (Crop Protection), Jane Trindall (Productive Resources- Water and energy) and Allan Williams (Productive Resources- Nutrition) and Ian Taylor (Profitable Futures).

Cotton crops protected from pest, weed and disease threats. 

Significant advancements in protecting the Australian cotton crop from insect pest, weed and disease threats have been achieved in recent times and the introduction of transgenic cotton has seen significant changes in the management practices of cotton farmers and the landscape in which cotton is grown. New challenges for farmers in successfully protecting their crop will likely emerge over the life of this plan.

Tighter regulation of agricultural chemicals could change the cotton industry’s access to products for insect, pest and weed management, unexpected adaptations in pest species can enhance their capacity to survive and thrive in the cotton system, and industry will have access to cotton varieties offering only modest/incremental improvements in disease tolerances. Insect pest, weed and disease outbreaks remain largely unpredictable, being driven by changing ecological and climatic conditions. As a result the ability of farmers to constantly adapt their pest, weed and disease management strategies will be vital in successfully protecting their crop. In this theme, the RD&E focus is on developing strategies and practices which support farmers to address these challenges and ultimately make them more profitable.

We will achieve this by:

  • Monitoring and investigating the ecological behaviours and responses of cotton pest, weeds and diseases.
  • Testing practices that deliver improved management of insect pests, weeds and diseases.
  • Improving capacity, knowledge and adoption of techniques to successfully protect the cotton crop.

Measures of success:

Farmers are able to improve their crop management practices based on sound science.

  • 85 percent of farmers adopting improved practices that reduce the reliance on pesticide inputs.
  • 50 percent of farmers adopting improved practices that reduce the incidence of insect pests, weeds and diseases affecting cotton on their farm.
  • World class science foundations for managing ecological adaptations in cotton insect pests, weeds and diseases.


The Crop Protection theme is managed by CRDC’s R&D Program Manager Susan Maas. For more information, contact us.

Productive resource efficiencies inputs for cotton production are optimised.

Increasing resource pressures are pushing up input prices (water, energy, fertiliser) and there is a growing need to optimise the use of these inputs in order to remain profitable.

Australia’s current globally competitive resource efficiency is not sufficient to sustain the profitability of its cotton production system. This theme will equip farmers to break new ground in the yields of cotton that can be achieved per unit of major inputs – fertiliser, water and energy. RD&E efforts will focus on increasing the quality and accessibility of information for decision making as well as the availability of tools and technologies that facilitate more precise applications of resources.

We will achieve this by:

Delivering benchmarks of on-farm resource use efficiencies.

  • Developing and proving decision systems and practices that deliver optimal resource efficiencies on cotton farms.
  • Developing new systems and tools to support farm decisionmaking processes.
  • Improving capacity, knowledge and adoption of techniques to optimise resource uses.

Measures of success:

Farmers are able to increase their productivity;

  • per hectare of land
  • per unit of nitrogen fertiliser
  • per ML water
  • per unit of CO2 equivalent emitted 


The Productive Resources theme is managed by CRDC’s R&D Program Managers  Jane Trindall (Water and Energy), Allan Williams (Nutrition). For more information, contact us.

Innovations in cotton production.

Cotton growing will continue to evolve. Whether change is driven by productivity constraints, environmental, economic or regulatory factors, the long term profitability of cotton farming will rely on finding innovations and strategies that allow the cotton farming system to adapt. This theme looks to initiate RD&E efforts which deliver these innovations and builds the longer term profitability of cotton production in a changing environment.

Change creates both challenges and opportunities for the Australian cotton industry, some of which the industry is already aware, e.g. climate change, growth of social media and public perceptions of agriculture. Other future changes are still unknown. For the Australian cotton industry, its long term sustainability will be driven by its preparedness and capacity to respond and adapt. The Sustainable Futures theme will initiate RD&E that looks to the future and begins to identify and consider solutions to these future sustainability challenges.

We will achieve this by:

Investigating the application of new technologies and different scientific approaches which have the potential to deliver significant improvements and economic returns to the cotton farming system.

Measures of success:

Farmers are profitable;

  • Improving gross margins for Australian cotton production systems.
  • ​On-farm innovations and partnerships established to drive profitability​. 


​The Profitable Futures theme is managed by CRDC’s R&D Program Manager, Ian Taylor. For more information, contact us.