Cotton Matters - 14 November 2018

Tuesday, 13th November 2018 // Cotton Matters, Featured // Comments (0)

Visa changes a step forward in tackling Australian agriculture’s job shortages

Changes to Australia’s visa program aimed at tackling labour shortages in agriculture have been welcomed by Cotton Australia.

The Federal Government last week announced reforms to visa programs including the Working Holiday Maker Visa and the Seasonal Worker Programme, as well as new measures to further prevent exploitation of workers.

Among the changes are plans to boost efforts to get Australian jobseekers into vacant agricultural roles, extensions to visa durations, and increased promotion of working holiday opportunities to overseas youth.

Read more about the visa changes

Apply now for new Cotton20 Leadership Program

Are you a grower who wants to develop skills, knowledge and networks to better lead, advocate and influence change across the cotton industry?

If so, you’re encouraged to apply for Cotton Australia’s new mid-high level industry leadership program, Cotton20.    

Cotton Australia has secured funds from the Federal Department of Agriculture and Water Resources’ Leadership in Agricultural Industries Fund to assist in the development and delivery of this program.

Key topics of the program will include:

  • Governance
  • Advocacy
  • Industry development
  • Strategic thinking and planning
  • Leadership
  • Communication   

A two-level mentoring initiative will be a central part of this program, as will a face-to-face forum and a mix of online and digital learning resources.   

Interested growers are encouraged to contact Cotton Australia via email, or phone Paul Sloman on 0448 094 883 for further information and an application form.

Applications close on Friday 14th December 2018.   

Read more about Cotton20

Contact Cotton Australia now

ABC reports on Murray Darling Basin Plan found to breach impartiality and accuracy policies

An investigation by the ABC into some of its reports on the Murray Darling Basin Plan (MDBP) has found the stories breached the broadcaster’s editorial policies on impartiality and accuracy.

The investigation was initiated after a complaint was lodged with the ABC by the National Irrigators’ Council about the reporting on the MDBP in the Radio National program Background Briefing in April and May 2018.

A coalition of agricultural groups, including Cotton Australia, made a similar complaint to the ABC and is still awaiting a response.

In its findings, which have been published online, the broadcaster found the two reports ‘gave undue weight to a research paper questioning the effectiveness of infrastructure subsidies designed to increase environmental water and included two factual errors’.

The investigation also found a Facebook video by the program explaining the role of return flows in the MDBP ‘unduly favoured criticisms of the Plan’. The video has been taken down.

Read the full findings of the ABC’s investigation now

Irish Nuffield Scholar learns valuable lessons from Cotton Australia

A Nuffield Scholar from Ireland has turned to Cotton Australia to learn more about agricultural education.

Cotton Australia operates a dedicated education program to teach students about Australian cotton.

Karol Kissane, a dairy farmer, this year received a Nuffield Scholarship in his native Ireland.

As part of his Nuffield research, Mr Kissane is studying the benefits and effectiveness of agricultural education.

He decided to visit Australia for part of his research after hearing about the education program Cotton Australia operates.

Read more about Karol’s visit

Queensland growers: we need your help to ensure you have access to affordable electricity

Do you rely on electricity to harvest water or to irrigate? 

In about 18 months’ time, there will be big changes to electricity tariffs in Queensland. While for some irrigators these changes may be positive, others are going to face enormous increases in their electricity bills.

To help Cotton Australia negotiate a fairer outcome, we desperately need actual electricity usage data. Cotton Australia is asking growers to authorise Ergon to analyse your electricity usage and to share that data with Cotton Australia.

Cotton Australia will not share your data with others in any way that will identify individuals, unless we separately and explicitly ask your permission to do so.

This is serious. When we last analysed some irrigators’ bills, we noted some large users were facing bill increases of 200-300% in 2020.

To authorise Ergon to analyse your bill, and share data with Cotton Australia, please complete this form and email it to Cotton Australia’s General Manager, Michael Murray.

When returning the form, please include a few lines in your email providing context on how you use electricity (for example, flood harvesting, supplemented water access, groundwater, overland flow), and how many hectares you may irrigate in a normal year.

If you have any questions, or to discuss the issue, please contact Michael via email, or phone 0427 707 868.  

Contact Michael Murray now

Porter and Wood: a home-grown success story

Porter and Wood are the newest brand to carry the Australian Cotton swing tag. And unlike Cotton Australia’s other brand partners, clothing isn’t Porter and Wood’s main product offering; timber furniture is.

Porter and Wood Founder Jason Porter taught himself woodworking after realising he didn’t have his father’s passion for cotton farming. He did, however, have a passion for Australian cotton, so he designed his own line of merchandise in support of his bespoke furniture business. The range, which launched in early November, includes long- and short-sleeved T-shirts, singlets and hoodies.

Jason always knew he wanted to use Australian cotton, and contacted Cotton Australia with regard to using the logo.

“There were a lot of hoops to jump through, but I’m glad of that. It has made me appreciate it more,” Jason says.

Learn more about the merchandise

Growers encouraged to update spray knowledge

It’s a busy time in the season at the moment, with many growers undertaking spray operations.

Growers are encouraged to refresh their spray knowledge and ensure they’re complying with best practice techniques. This ensures spraying is effective, and reduces the risk of off-target spray drift incidents.

The CottonInfo team has produced a series of resources for growers to consult in updating their knowledge.

Read the key considerations for spraying

Watch a video on understanding agrochemical labels

CottonInfo launches latest biosecurity video

The CottonInfo team has launched the latest video in its ‘Be a Good Mate, Stop It At The Gate’ series.

The focus of the new video is Damien Ebbern’s Darling Downs property, ‘Melrose’.

Visitors, consultants and researchers are just some of the people coming onto Damien’s farm, and they all log their visit on a visitors’ register. This assists Damien in recording the movements on and off the property.

The visitors’ register is an effective tool in recording people’s movements and tracing any potential spread of pests.

You can find visitors’ register templates ready to use on the Farm Biosecurity website. Watch Damien’s video to find out how he implements the visitors’ register on farm.

Watch the video now

ICAC releases latest statistics

The International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC) has revised its global consumption forecast down to 27.5 million tonnes for 2018/19.

ICAC cited uncertainties in the world economy and trading market as being factors in the downward revision.

Global production is also forecast to decrease in 2018/19 from 27 million tonnes to 26.3 million tonnes.

Despite growth in the area planted in Brazil and West Africa, it is unlikely to offset the area losses in Australia, China, India and the USA.

Scholarships available for women working in agriculture

Women who work in Australian agriculture are encouraged to apply for a scholarship that aims to boost access to leadership and professional development programs.

The opportunity is being offered by Women & Leadership Australia.

The scholarships, valued up to $7,000, are open to all women currently employed in the Australian farming and agricultural sectors, and are designed to enable the women’s participation in a range of leadership courses.

The grants are allocated with the specific intent of providing powerful and effective development opportunities for women within the farming and agricultural sector.

Read more and apply now for the scholarships

Growers encouraged to have their say in agricultural census research

Have you ever completed the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ agricultural census? If not, why not?

Researchers from Deakin University are working with the ABS in studying what inhibits farmers completing the census, and if there are alternative sources for collecting agricultural data in the future.

The research team are speaking with farmers from a range of industries, and they are keen to hear from cotton growers, particularly in Queensland.

The ABS will consider the completed research in relation to reducing the respondent burden, with the aim of improving future agricultural censuses.

Email Deakin University’s Jennifer Jones to find out more 

CSD launches excellence in planting competition

Cotton growers who demonstrate excellence in planting this season could win a trip to Western Australia by entering an excellence in planting competition run by Cotton Seed Distributors and Syngenta.

To enter the FastStart Cotton Establishment Awards, growers are required to submit planting details and establishment figures, along with a supporting photo.

The competition ties-in with the FastStart Cotton Accreditation Course for agronomists, consultants, rural retailers and on-farm staff, which builds knowledge around planting to improve yields.

Learn more about the FastStart Cotton Accreditation Course

Read more about the FastStart Cotton Establishment Awards