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New cotton research year kicks off: 50 new projects underway! (1 July 2014)

As of 1 July, 50 new cotton research and development projects are underway across the country thanks to funding from growers and the Australian Government, invested through the CRDC.

These 50 new projects bring the number of research and development projects being funded by CRDC in the new financial year to over 200.

CRDC Executive Director Bruce Finney says CRDC will invest $24 million in cotton research, development and extension (RD&E) during the 2014-15 financial year.

“CRDC’s role is to invest in RD&E for the benefit of the Australian cotton industry and the wider community,” Mr Finney said.

“Our focus is on the future – where the cotton industry needs to be, and how today’s strategic investments in RD&E can help drive the industry forward.

“Our investments are split into five areas - research that benefits our farmers; strengthens our industry; helps us better understand and target our consumers; provides opportunities for our people; and measures our performance.

“The majority of our funding for RD&E, some 45 percent, goes towards crop research and development to benefit farmers – for example, helping them to achieve efficiencies in their water use, nitrogen use and energy use.

“Two of the major projects that have just commenced this year in the Farmers research program include optimising water and nitrogen fertiliser management in cotton, and staying ahead of weed evolution in changing cotton systems.

“In addition, 28 percent of our funding goes towards those projects that help the industry as a whole – such as the stewardship of Bt cotton, which has led to major environmental and performance benefits for our industry; extremely timely given the pending introduction of Bollgard III cotton,” Mr Finney said.

CRDC is already planning ahead for the next financial year. On 30 June, applications for funding for research for the 2015-16 financial year closed, with CRDC now undertaking a process to assess the preliminary research proposals received.

“This year, we received 127 preliminary research proposals - the highest number of proposals ever received during this first round process,” Mr Finney said.

“This shows the strength of our research sector and the interest in conducting cotton research.

“CRDC will now seek advice from the Cotton Australia grower panels on all the research proposals received, to ensure that the projects funded will be of great benefit to the cotton industry,” Mr Finney said.