Cotton Australia has welcomed the drought assistance measures announced by the Federal, NSW and Queensland governments.
All of NSW and a significant portion of Queensland is drought-declared.
The NSW Government earlier this month announced a $500 million Drought Assistance Package.
The package includes $190 million for drought transport subsidies and $150 million to boost the Farm Innovation Fund program.
Fixed water charges to the value of $4000 have also been waived.
In Queensland, government drought relief includes fixed charge electricity rebates and some waivers to annual water licence fees.
2018 Australian Cotton Conference and Australian Cotton Industry Awards a big success
A record number of people attended the 2018 Australian Cotton Conference on the Gold Coast this month.
The event was a big success with 2460 delegates, 150 speakers and panellists, 28 sponsors, 110 exhibitors and 12 start-ups attending. Almost $50,000 was raised for the 2018 conference’s nominated charity, OzHarvest.
The next Australian Cotton Conference is scheduled to be held from August 4 – 6, 2020.
The recipients of the 2018 Australian Cotton Industry Awards were also announced at this year’s event, with Goondiwindi grower Brett Corish named Grower of the Year.
Cotton Australia receives visit from Chinese cotton delegation
A group from the China National Cotton Reserves Company (CNCRC) visited Cotton Australia’s Sydney headquarters recently.
CNCRC manages the Chinese state cotton reserves and is also in charge of warehousing, logistics, cotton importation and information consultation.
The meeting with Cotton Australia included discussions on world cotton market issues, including quality. World Trade Organisation quota allocations and Australia’s wish to be considered for country-specific quotas were also discussed.
The group’s visit also included meetings with an ACSA representative, and a trip to then-Cotton Australia Chairman Simon Corish’s farm.
Growers encouraged to be part of Cotton Gap
Are you a grower passionate about the Australian cotton industry and keen to give back to the next generation?
If so, apply now to be part of Cotton Gap.
Cotton Gap is run by Cotton Australia and connects school leavers and tree-changers with growers, providing them with opportunities to learn and secure hands-on cotton farm experience.
All growers need to do is employ an entry-level staff member on award conditions for up to a year, provide farm accommodation or assist in sourcing local accommodation, and ensure a safe workplace.
High-calibre students with a genuine interest in paving a career in cotton have already expressed their interest in being involved.
Interested growers can contact Cotton Gap program coordinator, Bec Fing, on 0427 107 234 or email email@example.com
Click 2.0 photo competition winners announced
The winners of Cotton Australia’s Click 2.0 photo and video competition have been announced.
A total of 270 entries were received, and were judged by acclaimed Narrabri photographer Josh Smith.
Camera equipment vouchers valued up to $8000 were supplied by digiDIRECT as prizes.
The winners were:
- Overall first place winner: Mandy McCutcheon, Trangie, NSW
- Overall runner-up: Cameron Stewart, Wee Waa, NSW
- Aussie Cotton People: Mandy McCutcheon, Trangie, NSW
- Aussie Cotton Landscapes: Cameron Stewart, Wee Waa, NSW
- The Moving Image: Adam Marchant
- People’s choice: Bill Back, Narrabri, NSW
Cotton Australia congratulates the winners and thanks all who entered this year’s competition.
Northern NSW growers to receive agribusiness skills boost thanks to new training courses
Growers in northern New South Wales are being encouraged to express their interest in two new training courses that have been developed by AgSkilled.
Developing agribusiness skills will be the focus of the following new cost-subsidised courses, which will be run by TAFE NSW:
On-Farm Business Management
- Moree, Narrabri, Boggabilla, Gunnedah
- September 2018
Agribusiness Solutions and Skills
- Moree, Narrabri, Gunnedah, Tamworth
- September 2018
The On-farm Business Management course will include training around developing and operating computerised accounting or bookkeeping systems, managing payroll, superannuation, budgeting and business tax and GST compliance.
The Agribusiness Solutions course has been developed for those working in farm management and will develop their skills in risk management, staff management and marketing.
AgSkilled is a vocational training initiative for the NSW cotton and grains industries, funded by the NSW Government and supported by Cotton Australia and the GRDC. The new courses are the latest in AgSkilled’s suite of valuable training opportunities.
Wrinkle-free and stretchy - CSIRO working on a cotton that doesn’t need ironing
Cotton shirts that don't need ironing could be a reality thanks to a new CSIRO project.
A team of CSIRO researchers, in partnership with Cotton Seed Distributors, has started working on developing a cotton with many of the properties of synthetics, such as being stretchy, non-creasing and even waterproof, while retaining a natural fibre feel.
They are first examining what determines the length, strength and thickness of cotton fibres to see if a plant can be grown with fibres that express the characteristics of a synthetic.
"We're looking into the structure of cotton cell walls and harnessing the latest tools in synthetic biology to develop the next generation cotton fibre," CSIRO scientist Dr Madeline Mitchell said.
"We've got a whole bunch of different cotton plants growing; some with really long thin fibres, others like the one we call 'Shaun the Sheep', with short, woolly fibres."
In addition to improving functionality of cotton clothing, the work also has the potential to make substantial inroads into tackling the problem of microfibre pollution. Polyester and nylon materials shed synthetic microfibres during washing and in windy conditions, which then bioaccumulate in the environment and don’t break down.
Cotton clothing also sheds microfibres, but these are biodegradable and break down naturally and rapidly in the environment.
As well as environmental reasons, there is a strong commercial imperative for improving the versatility of cotton.
"If we can produce next-generation cotton, we can take a large market share of the synthetics industry. That’s a win not just for Australia's $2.5 billion industry but also for the environment," Managing Director of Cotton Seed Distributors Peter Graham said.
In 1995, synthetics constituted about half of the global fibre market and by 2015 it had risen to 77 per cent. The overall growth in the size of the fibre industry means that while the cotton market hasn't shrunk, it also hasn't significantly increased.
"Synthetics may be cheaper to produce and require less ironing, but people like natural fibres. They would just prefer if they didn't crease so much or if they could stretch," Dr Mitchell said.
The next generation cotton research is part of CSIRO's Synthetic Biology Future Science Platform, a $13 million investment in science that applies engineering principles to biology. SynBio projects aim to provide societal benefits and opportunities for a wide range of industries.
Technology, cotton and education come together for classroom lesson
Cotton’s Young Farming Champion, Emma Ayliffe, has taken a group of Sydney school students onto the farm, with the help of technology.
Ms Ayliffe used video conferencing software to connect with an electronic whiteboard in the students’ Parramatta Public School classroom.
During the interactive ‘live cross’, Ms Ayliffe taught the group about soil moisture probes, crop rotation and the early stages of the cotton season.
Alternative energy the focus of new CottonInfo video
CottonInfo has launched a new information video looking at alternative energy use on cotton farms.
The video features a case study of a 2600ha broadacre farm in Queensland’s Fitzroy Valley, and looked at the economic and environmental considerations around installing microgrids to offset energy use across three key farm sites.
The research and analyses were conducted by CottonInfo/AgEcon research economists Jon Welsh and Janine Powell.
World cotton consumption forecasts released by ICAC
The International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC) has released its global consumption projections for 2018/19.
ICAC has forecast global consumption to reach a record 27.5 million tonnes in 2018/19, an increase of four per cent.
The organisation says the forecast boost indicates global demand for cotton is strong.
Farmers invited to have their say in finding affordable electricity solutions
Growers in New South Wales and Queensland are encouraged to share with researchers their experiences around securing affordable electricity.
A joint Cotton Australia, QFF and NSW Irrigators’ Council project is exploring the challenges agricultural producers face in installing solar generation assets on farm and their ability to feed excess energy back into the grid.
The aim is to better align agricultural energy consumers and network business interests in relation to grid-connected solar on farm and identify possible future opportunities with the network distribution businesses for renewable energy projects through rural Queensland and NSW.