New cotton season begins, with planting underway in central Queensland
The 2018/19 Australian cotton season is underway, with growers in Queensland’s Central Highlands busy planting this year’s crop.
A total of 3000 hectares of cotton has been planted in the valley so far, and another 5000 – 8000 hectares is expected to be planted over the coming weeks.
It’s widely anticipated this season’s Australian crop will, at this stage, be only around half what was grown last year, due to the drought.
Hundreds of students learn about Australian cotton at AgVision
Cotton Australia was on-hand at AgVision in Junee earlier this month to boost education on Australian cotton.
More than 700 students from schools across the state attended and participated in workshops from different agricultural industries.
Cotton Australia’s workshop focussed on teaching students where their clothes come from, and included information on cotton’s production phases, and the ginning and spinning processes.
Download your guide to drought assistance
With the drought taking hold across all of New South Wales and a significant amount of Queensland, Cotton Australia has developed an overview of drought assistance packages available to growers.
The overview contains information on support programs available at a national and state level.
Growers are encouraged to read the overviews and investigate what support they’re eligible to apply for.
NSW growers: heavy vehicle rego discounts announced
The New South Wales Government has announced a suite of rebates and refunds on heavy vehicle registration for farmers.
The announcement came after the government changed how registration charges were calculated for producers. Those changes will come into effect on November 1, 2018.
Partial refunds are being offered on previous registrations going back three years. On average this will save people $2,100.
Farmers will also receive free registration over the next two years on heavy vehicles.
The government says because of the drought conditions, producers will also receive a heavy vehicle registration rebate for the next two years.
More information released ahead of Chain of Responsibility law changes
Growers are encouraged to watch a series of new videos informing of changes to Chain of Responsibility (CoR) laws, which come into effect on October 1, 2018.
The law changes are set to align the current CoR laws with workplace health and safety regulations.
The information videos are designed to answer questions growers may have, and cover topics including safety duties, implementing a Safety Management System, tools and templates, accreditation schemes and codes of practice.
Satellites used to monitor river flows
As part of its efforts to improve compliance, the Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) has announced it is using satellites to track environmental flows through the northern part of the river system.
The MDBA says it used satellite imagery of the Barwon and Darling rivers between April and June 2018 to track the flow of water released for the environment.
The authority says the trial has proven to be an important compliance tool, as they can pair the images with gauge data to assess where the water is going.
The MDBA says the study found no major changes to farm dam or water storages, or unexpected changes in the flow during the observation period. They say this signals a low probability of any compliance issues.
Water infrastructure upgrade funding applications open
Applications have opened for funding under the Federal Government’s water infrastructure program.
The $1.5 billion initiative is designed to enable irrigators in upgrading infrastructure to save water. Under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, projects that are funded must have a positive or neutral socio-economic outcome.
The latest tender period will close on October 2. Further tenders will open later in 2018 through to 2024.
Cotton Australia is looking to assess demand for an on-farm infrastructure program in Queensland. Growers interested in a potential program are encouraged to contact Cotton Australia General Manager, Michael Murray.
Extension of instant asset write-off passes parliament
The Federal Government’s $20,000 instant asset write-off package has been extended, with legislation passing parliament.
The package encourages investment in farm equipment and machinery valued up to $20,000 by allowing farmers to write the asset off on tax.
The continuation period covers assets purchased between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019.
The National Farmers’ Federation, which Cotton Australia is a member of, says the continuation of the asset write-off package will help build resilience, especially during the drought.
Register now for NFF National Congress
Registrations have opened for the National Farmers’ Federation’s (NFF) 2018 National Congress.
Cotton Australia is a member organisation of NFF.
The biennial event will be held from October 17 to 18, 2018 at the Australian Institute of Sport, Canberra.
The theme of the congress is ‘Diversity’ and the event will provide an opportunity for learning, discussions and networking across agricultural sectors.
Cotton Young Farming Champion recognised for sustainability work
One of cotton’s new Young Farming Champions is a finalist in a NSW Government awards program.
Anika Molesworth has been recognised in the 2018 NSW Office of Environment and Heritage’s Green Globe Awards for her work in the areas of sustainability and environmental leadership.
Ms Molesworth is researching how to better recycle and re-use agricultural by-products. She is focussing on how chicken manure can boost fertility on cotton fields and act as an organic nutrient source.
Ms Molesworth hopes being a finalist in the awards will provide an opportunity to boost broader community engagement around agricultural innovation.
Rural Women’s Award: apply now
Applications have opened for the 2019 Rural Women’s Award.
The award program recognises female leaders from regional areas who are passionate about innovation and making a difference in their communities.
Applications for the Rural Women’s Award will be measured on their impact and benefits to rural and regional Australia.
Mobile black spot funding progressing
The next stage of the Federal Government’s Mobile Blackspot Program is advancing.
The Federal Government is calling on local and state governments to identify locations affected by mobile blackspots, so they can be considered for the next round of the program’s funding.
Improving coverage for medical, educational and emergency services facilities, key transport routes, and towns that experience seasonal tourist demand are a focus of this funding round.
The Regional, Rural and Remote Communications Coalition, of which Cotton Australia is a member, welcomed the announcement and encouraged all levels of government to consult with and listen to farmers on the issue.