Water flow potentially grows cotton industry in North Queensland
The nation’s newest cotton crop could soon be blooming across Queensland’s northern outback, following the decision to allocate 95,000 megalitres of water for irrigation along the Flinders and Gilbert Rivers around Richmond in Queensland’s North West.
On Tuesday, Minister Andrew Cripps announced a release of unallocated water will occur on Thursday 26 July 2012 and will close on the 28 of September 2012. The allocation for the Flinders River is 80 000 megalitres and the Gilbert river 15 000 megalitres, with a maximum limit per proponent of 32 000 mgs out of the Flinders River and 6 000mgs from the Gilbert River.
The Minister said the allocation will be released by a tender process to landowners along the rivers who can present the best and most productive case possible to be profitable and sustainable agricultural enterprises for small, medium and large producers.
“There is an undisclosed reserve price that will remain unnamed as part of the tender process, the price is based on cost recovery, it is a mature price and is based on productive purposes to prevent sleeper licences.”
The Minister said if there is a strong interest and applications for allocation they will consider a review of the amount allocated in the future. The water will be fully tradable and a separate title to land.
More information is available from the website dnrm.qld.gov.au.
At the announcement ceremony of the Flinders River Agricultural Precinct, Renee Anderson, Regional Manager from Cotton Australia facilitated a group of growers from Emerald including Neek Morawitz, Wayne Reeves, Rossy Burnett, Ian Burnett along with Cotton Australia Board Members, Simon Corish and Hamish MacIntyre as well as two industry representatives, Rick Jones from QLD Cotton and Lance Pendergast Irrigation specialist from DAFF to provide information for farmers along the Flinders & Gilbert Rivers who were keen to discuss the potential for cotton in their area.
Cotton Australia’s Policy Manager for Queensland, Michael Murray welcomed the announcement by Qld Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Andrew Cripps along with Agriculture Minister John McVeigh who were joined by Federal Minister for Regional Development Simon Crean at the North West Irrigators Forum.
Mr Murray says the opportunity for cotton in the region had been recognised for a long time with research crops in the mid 90’s demonstrating the area’s potential to sustainably grow cotton, along with a small number of commercial crops, including one this year.
“While this newly allocated water will be available for a variety of uses, cotton is probably the best returning annual crop for the area on a gross margin basis. Combine that with our focus on increasing water efficiency along with the cotton industry’s track record for supporting new entrants by sharing research information and we would expect to see significant interest from potential new cotton growers along the Flinders River.”
He says making this initial water available is just the beginning and both the Federal and Queensland government will now need to seriously look at the provision of additional water and infrastructure.
“Cotton could bring jobs and investment into the Flinders River Catchment, providing growth for towns like Richmond and Hughenden, but capitalising on that potential means we’ll need better roads, improved transport links and government support for an eventual cotton gin,” Mr Murray said.
The forum was also the venue for the very first Irrigators Association in this area of Queensland, with Cotton Australia Regional Manager Renee Anderson on hand to provide practical advice about establishing a new representative group for local cotton growers and hopefully one day becoming part of the Cotton Growers Association in the future.
Cotton Industry Transport information tour hits the road in Qld.
Cotton Australia recently gave senior officials with the QLD Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTR) a first hand look at some of the road transport issues facing the cotton industry.
Cotton Australia Field Policy Manager, James Houlahan says the Cotton Industry Transport Information tour was specifically planned to display and promote the high level of technology that represents the modern Australian cotton growing industry and to showcase some specific examples of grower and industry investment in designing, testing and utilising proven effective systems for the safe loading, restraint and transporting of cotton round modules, bales and machinery.
The information tour follows an earlier face to face meeting between key cotton industry stakeholder representatives and senior QLD DTR policy managers and initiated by Cotton Australia.
Mr Houlahan said the broad aim of this activity was to highlight current and potential future issues impacting on the cotton industry transport supply chain and to inform deliberations between QLD DTR and CA towards maintaining the continued growth and sustainability of the cotton industry and cotton communities where associated heavy vehicle road transport safety is managed in a practical, responsible and economically viable manner.
Starting in Dalby, the tour moved to visit to Jamie Grant’s farm at Jimbour and watched a practical demonstration and inspection of a cotton round module load restraint system for transporting of cotton round modules from farm to cotton gin. It was also an opportunity for the QLD DRT policy managers to kick the tyres and have an up close and personal inspection of the new John Deere 7760 round bale cotton pickers.
The group then literally followed the path of the cotton module transport operator to a local cotton gin, where Queensland Cotton’s Marketing Services Manager, Allyse Morris facilitated a tour of the gin and opportunity to observe cotton bales being loaded on trailers for road transport to Brisbane port.
Cotton Australia will now maintain ongoing discussions with QLD DTR, ensuring an open dialogue continues between both road transport regulators and the cotton industry.
Cotton Australia supports students to the 16th Australian Agronomy Conference 2012
Based on current estimates, during the next five years at least 65 graduate agronomists will be required in the cotton industry. Helping to promote cotton agronomy as a positive career option is behind Cotton Australia’s bursary which will allow a student to attend the 16th Australian Agronomy Conference in October.
Cotton Australia is offering the bursary, which will be awarded on a competitive basis to an enthusiastic and promising individual undertaking undergraduate tertiary studies in agriculture or in a closely related field. The sponsorship will cover registration, travel and accommodation expenses to attend the conference.
The theme for the 16th Australian Agronomy Conference is “Capturing Opportunities and Overcoming Obstacles in Australian Agronomy” being held from October 14-18, 2012 at the University of New England.
If you know someone in your family or community, currently enrolled at university and who might consider becoming a cotton industry agronomist, then Cotton Australia is keen to encourage them to take up this offer.
To obtain an application form please contact Sophie Davidson, Education Coordinator at Cotton Australia, email@example.com
Applications close on August 17th 2012
Quad bikes now leading cause of farm deaths
Safe Work Australia data has revealed that quad bikes have become the most lethal item of farm equipment, resulting in 31 fatalities from 2003 till 2011.
Cotton Australia Field Policy Manager James Houlahan says this alarming statistic has seen a growing movement to join forces across the Ag sector and with government in developing greater awareness of the risks these machines pose, particularly to young people and the elderly.
He says the FarmSafe Australia data reveals around 60 percent of quad bike fatalities between 2003 and last year were people either under 25 or over 65 years old.
Quad bike fatalities now out rank tractor fatalities on farms by almost two to one with FarmSafe reporting that almost 80 percent of all quad bike fatalities occurred on
Along with the fatalities in that same time 129 people have been injured in quad bike incidents.
Mr Houlahan says Cotton Australia has maintained a close and serious interest in the issue of quad bike safety.
“Hardly a fortnight seems to go by without yet another shocking news story of a fatality associated with the use of quad bikes. The findings and recommendations of Farmsafe Australia should not be ignored.”
While quad bikes have been a popular and useful vehicle on cotton farms, the facts are that they have been demonstrated to be extremely unstable under various situations and the potential for serious or fatal injury is simply too high. The wider adoption of head protection and anti-crush protection devices in association with the use of quad bikes are proven safety controls that Cotton Australia strongly endorses.”
We have also seen an increased interest amongst cotton growers and move towards replacing quad bikes with the side by side all terrain type vehicles. This is an inherently safer option and one which Cotton Australia completely supports.”
Mr Houlahan says farmers who use quad bikes on their farms need to reassess the level of risk around these machines and carefully consider who should be allowed to operate the quad bike and under what conditions.
For further information on the safe use and handling of quad bikes, visit the farmsafe website
Calling all women who care about the cotton industry
With excellent production forecasts across the industry, now is an exciting time to be involved with the cotton industry’s leading group for women, WinCott, and score a free copy of marie claire magazine.
WinCott is an organisation that aims to provide professional and personal development for all women living in rural communities, focused on the friendly support and development of its members.
Wincott – Women in Cotton – was established in December 2000 to help develop knowledge, opportunities and learning for women involved in any aspect of the Australian cotton industry. Wincott has since grown and expanded to provide professional and personal development for all women living in rural communities.
Wincott invite you to their AGM Luncheon at the 16th Australian Cotton Conference, and all new members will be very welcome.
Wincott functions with the dedication of a group of volunteers-geographically spread across the cotton industry who are passionate about their industry and assisting others to achieve personally growth, develop business skills, have influence as community members and to support our environment. And if you are interested in being part of the Wincott committee and representing your area, Kate would be more than happy to have that discussion with you.
By joining WinCott this month you can receive a free copy of the latest marie claire magazine featuring cotton in fashion. This is a strictly limited offer and only the first new members will win a free copy of marie claire magazine.
WinCott looks forward to seeing you on Thursday 16 August, for an entertaining AGM luncheon!
North West NSW Heavy Vehicle Breakfast Forum Tuesday 31 July
A free forum designed to explore the current road safety and freight issues affecting the heavy vehicle industry including over dimensional vehicles, chain of responsibility and speeding will be held in Moree next week.
This year’s North West NSW Heavy Vehicle Breakfast Forum on Tuesday 31 July starts at 6.30am to 1pm at the Moree War Memorial Hall, Balo St, Moree.
Over sausages, bacon and eggs for breakfast will be a number of presentations
• Essential Energy who will discuss over dimensional vehicles and electricity,
• Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) who will discuss the “Chain of Responsibility” and how it affects your business
• Councils who will discuss the introduction of HML, B-Triple and AB Triple vehicles onto the local Shire roads.
As well as special guest presenters including:
• The Hon Kevin Humphries MP - Today, Tomorrow & the Future
• Paul Endycott from Roads and Maritime Services will discuss “Compliance & Enforcement”
• Richard Hancock- National Heavy Vehicle Regulator.
The North West NSW Heavy Vehicle Breakfast Forum will provide cotton growers, truck drivers, crane operators, farmers, livestock owners, stock & station owners and others in the heavy vehicle industry with valuable road safety information.
The Road Ahead Semi Trailer and TruckSafe Ute will both be on display!
There will also be a number of information stands on site providing the chance to chat first hand with the presenters.
To find out more and reserve your place call the event organiser Kylie Kerr on (02) 6757 3284 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Central Highlands Growers & Irrigators Awards
From Rolleston in the south to Belyando Crossing in the north, around 190 people made their way to attend the CH Cotton Growers & Irrigators Awards held last Friday.
Prize winners on the night included Neek Morawitz – ‘Argoon’ & ‘Windy Hill’, Comet who received the Irrigator Service to Industry award presented by the CHCG&IA President Ross Burnett.
The CGS Iain Mackay Memorial Service to Industry Award was posthumously awarded to Graham Dunkley, Queensland Cotton Gin, Emerald.
The late picking last season meant the yield award presentation was postponed to this year. So the 2010/11 CGS Cotton Yield Award (highest cotton yield for whole farm) was presented to
• 1st Graham & Josie Volck, “Clearview”, Emerald – 9.12 bales/ha
• 2nd Ken & Sylvia Sullivan, “Springton”, Orion – 8.03 bales/ha
• 3rd John & Natalie Kenny, “Llynarth”, Belyando Crossing – 7.67 bales/ha
With another late season of picking and ginning still underway, the yield awards for this year will now be presented in 2013.
One of the most important awards for the night was the Annual East vs West Cricket trophy, which this year went home with the Westies.
Rabobank sponsored the very amusing Nigel as guest speaker and MC for the night.
Click! winners on display at Australian Cotton Conference story.
As the entries into the Cotton Australia photo contest Click! soared well over the thousand mark, the judges have had a hard time choosing the finalists and eventual winner.
However the keen eye of master photographer Jack Atley has given each and every entry a careful review as he made his mind up about which images would make the final 16.
And now it’s time to reveal where you will be able to see the winning entries and runners up.
The Cotton Australia stand at the Cotton Conference will be the place to see all of the entries, with the prize winners and runners up given special display status at the front of the stand.
Every single entry submitted to the Click! photo contest will also be displayed on a digital screen (you might need to be patient as you wait for your picture to come around!).
And who are the winners? Well you’ll need to visit the Cotton Australia stand at the Cotton Conference on the Gold Coast if you want to be the first to know!
Cotton Australia Staff Profile: Sophie Davidson
Combining a love of teaching with her love of the land, Cotton Australia Education Coordinator Sophie Davidson says ramping up the education activities of the cotton industry – an industry which is overwhelmingly innovative, technologically advanced and driven from within to be sustainable is an opportunity to combine her skills and interests to achieve something genuinely worthwhile and important.
Sophie says after working in the Media and Communications a field which is all about taking charge of how an organisation or industry is represented, she moved into primary school teaching from there following her dream to do something more altruistic.
She says coming from a family farming background, has given her an awareness of sustainable farming practices.
“I guess I have always been in agriculture without classifying it as such. My family have farmed for over four generations and it is a bit of a pilgrimage going back to the ancestral property in Scotland.”
“Growing up we had a small sheep property on the Lachlan River which we farmed with my extended family. We would also occasionally head up to my Grandfather’s property in Narrabri. When he bought it, it was partly grazing country but he gradually set it up for cropping, moving more into irrigated cotton as time went by.”
“My parents now own a grazing property near Woodstock and are keen on natural sequence farming.”
Sophie says since joining Cotton Australia her favorite experience has been the willingness of people to share their knowledge, experience and ideas and work collaboratively to get results.
“Broadly my role is to engage teachers, students and learning institutions in cotton and agriculture and promote a positive the positive story about agriculture to the next generation.”
“I’m looking forward to helping create more school-industry partnerships that improve teacher and student perceptions of the industry and encourage more students into agribusiness. I also excited about developing curriculum resources that are credible, objective and well used by teachers that raise students awareness of sustainable cotton production.”
Dates for the diary:
If you are holding a field day or an event you would like to include in Cotton Matters, please contact David Bone at Cotton Australia on (02) 9669 5222 or email email@example.com
North West NSW Heavy Vehicle Breakfast Forum on Tuesday 31 July starts at 6.30am to 1pm at the Moree War Memorial Hall, Balo St, Moree. Kylie Kerr on (02) 6757
3284 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Inaugural Seasonal Worker Program Conference 2012 at the Shangri-La, Sydney, from 31 July to 3 August. Contact Lisa Calabria on 02 6240 0881.
Thursday, August 2. A proposal by the Australian Cotton Shippers Association, The Australian Cotton Forward Market and Base Grade 11-1pm, The Max Function Centre, Moree. Members from the Australian Cotton Shippers Association will provide an overview of the proposal to alter the forward market base grade for Australian Cotton
Contact Zara Lowien on 02 67 521 399 or 0427 521 399 or
14- 16 August 2012 Australian Cotton Conference on the Gold Coast