Cotton Matters, 27 November 2013

Wednesday, 27th November 2013 // Cotton Matters // Comments (0)

Planting extension a win for growers, TIMS Committee
Cotton growers in NSW and southern Queensland have been given an extension until midnight on November 30 to plant Bollgard II this season. The regulator (the APVMA) granted the extension after an industry-wide effort – which included the work of the TIMS Committee - to assist growers overcome persistently dry conditions. Cotton Australia is represented on the TIMS Committee by Policy Manager, Research Direction & Stewardship, Greg Kauter.
Monsanto Australia worked with the TIMS Committee, Cotton Australia, local cotton grower associations and the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) to achieve the extension. The last extension was granted in 2009.
Planting windows require growers to plant Bollgard II cotton within certain dates to help prevent the target pest (Helicoverpa spp.) developing resistance to the insect-resistant technology in Bollgard II.
The use of planting windows is an important component of the Bollgard II Resistance Management Plan. It aims to restrict the number of generations that the moth Helicoverpa spp. is exposed to Bollgard II crops each season.

This occurs by limiting the length of time that Bollgard II will be in the ground and thus limiting the number of generations of Helicoverpa spp. exposed to Bt proteins during this time. The greater the number of generations exposed to the Bt proteins, the greater the opportunity for resistance to develop.
The extension applies to growers located in these valleys:

  • Bourke
  • Darling Downs
  • Dirranbandi
  • Gwydir
  • Lachlan
  • Lower Namoi
  • MacIntyre
  • Macquarie
  • Mungindi
  • Murrumbidgee
  • St George
  • Upper Namoi
  • Walgett

The APVMA has also outlined risk mitigation strategies that must be implemented by growers.
Monsanto urges growers to consult their local Monsanto representatives or technology service providers to obtain a copy of the risk management strategies.


Sydney venue packed for Cotton Australia General Meeting
Cotton Australia held its latest General Meeting in Sydney last week, packing the venue - the Coogee Surf Life Saving Club. MC’d by Cotton Australia Chairman, Lyndon Mulligan, speakers from across the industry updated growers on key issues facing the cotton sector.
Highlights included:

  • a wrap-up of Cotton Australia activities by CEO Adam Kay
  • an update of CRDC activities and FRP advisory panel advice
  • guest presentations: Gaetane Potard from the Australian Farm Institute on advocacy effectiveness, and Sam Guthrie and Brian Tyson from Newgate Communications on the importance of strategic communications to agricultural advocacy
  • a Department of Employment presentation on the seasonal worker program
  • an update on responsible cotton initiatives such as Cotton LEADS, BCI and myBMP
  • policy and advocacy updates on electricity pricing, mining & coal seam gas and water issues
  • progress and achievements of Cotton Australia’s education and communications programs
  • a TIMS Committee report on progress towards Bollgard III introduction
  • a 2013 crop report from ACSA

Click here to see more detail of topics discussed and highlights in pictures.


Cotton Australia at Qld Community Cabinet meeting
Last Sunday Cotton Australia met with senior members of the Queensland Government as part of the Community Cabinet held  in Toowoomba. Cotton Australia’s Queensland Policy Manager Michael Murray led a small delegation that met with Premier Campbell Newman, Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney and Minister for Agriculture John McVeigh.
Discussions centred primarily on the Regional Planning Interest Bill and the associated Co-Existence Criteria, which will regulated resource industry activity on Strategic Cropping Land and Priority Agricultural Areas (PAA).
Michael Murray says the meeting was very positive, with the Queensland Government’s senior leadership team giving the delegation a good hearing. He said the next step would be for Cotton Australia, along with the Queensland Farmers Federation and Agforce, to formally lodge a paper with the Deputy Premier outlining how a co-existence criteria framework may work, while strengthening the rights of landholders.
Mr Murray also took the opportunity to meet with the Minister for Environment Andrew Powell and the Minister for Energy and Water Utilities Mark McArdle, along with the Director General of the Department of Natural Resources and Mines Brett Heyward.
“Community Cabinet meetings are a bit like a cross between a parent/teacher interview and speed dating, the Ministers are seated behind desks in a large hall, and you get fifteen minutes to make your case,” Mr Murray says. “But despite the time limitations it’s an excellent opportunity to engage directly with senior ministers.”
Mr Murray says apart from discussions around the Regional Planning Interest Bill other issues canvassed included the Murray-Darling Plan, electricity pricing, the need for baseline monitoring prior to resource development and the progress of the SunWater local Management Arrangement project.


Cotton Australia’s support of PIEF reaping rewards
The primary Industries Education Foundation (PIEF), which is supported by both Cotton Australia and CRDC, has been kicking goals with two great initiatives launched – the Primary Industries Partnerships in Schools (PIPS) toolkit and the creation of a Food in the Curriculum online community.
The PiPs Toolkit has been created by PIEF to build links between agribusiness and school classrooms to open up a wide range of career opportunities in Australia's primary industries.
PIEF plans to progressively expand the toolkit. The PIPS project was enabled through supporting funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and NAB. Click here for more information on the PiPS Toolkit.
Food on the Curriculum - Online Community
As part of the Department of Agriculture's 'Food in the Curriculum' project in conjunction with Agrifood Skills Australia, PIEF has launched a page on Education Services Australia's 'Scootle Community' entitled 'Food and Fibre: Supporting the Australian Curriculum'. Scootle Community has been developed in collaboration with Australian teachers to discuss implementation of the Australian Curriculum and to share professional advice, information and support. Through Scootle Community, teachers can also access digital lesson plans, curriculum resources and research. 
Scootle Community can be used anywhere and at any time using a desktop computer, smart phone or tablet. It was released in May 2013. Scootle  is a one-stop-shop that provides teachers with access to more than 20,000 digital curriculum resources in the National Digital Learning Resources Network which is managed by Education Services Australia (ESA).


Flood case studies show value of assistance measures
The Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) – of which Cotton Australia is a member - has prepared a series of case studies on farmers impacted by the January 2013 ex-Cyclone Oswald rain and flood event. The case studies provide examples of how grants and loans under the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) have assisted farmers in the difficult recovery process. Cotton Australia played a key role in helping negotiate this assistance for growers following the flood event.
The videos are a reminder for other famers who have been impacted and have not accessed assistance that they have until November 29 to do so. Farmers can contact QRAA on 1800 623 946 for more information.
Click here to see the videos.
For a specific case study on Murgon cotton producers Mike and Andrea Stewart, click here.


Young Farming Champion takes cotton’s message to Sydney
Cotton Young Farming Champion Richie Quigley recently visited Balgowlah North Public School in Sydney to bring the industry’s positive messages to the next generation. The students had been investigating how technology helped society maintain a sustainable environment while improving their lives, using cotton as a case study because of its best management practices and record of improvements over the years.
Richie Quigley spoke to classes about how cotton farmers use technology to efficiently manage water use, how the development of genetic traits has reduced pesticide use, and how cotton is grown and then processed for use in everyday items.
Cotton Australia’s support of the Young Farming Champions program is a critical part of our efforts to bring positive messages about the industry to everyday Australians.


Archibull Prize winner announced
The winner of the Grand Champion Archibull Prize for 2013 has been announced, with Shoalhaven High School taking the honours. The Archibull Prize brings bright young Australian minds and big ideas together to share agriculture’s story through art and multimedia, and is proudly supported by Cotton Australia. See the next edition of Cotton Matters for a special report on the cotton-themed entries in the Archibull Awards.

Click here for more information.


CSIRO celebrates a century of cotton
CSIRO cotton breeders are celebrating the release of their 100th variety of cotton for Australian growers. The organisation has been breeding new cotton varieties since 1960, but released the first 24 years later.
CSIRO’s Dr Warwick Stiller leads CSIRO’s cotton breeding group based at Myall Vale near Narrabri in NSW.
“CSIRO and industry have invested significant resources in cotton research and it has been worth it. For every dollar spent on breeding, economic analysis shows that the dollar returns $165 to the industry, so although it is a long-term investment, it’s a good one,” Mr Stiller says.
The 100th variety, Sicot 75BRF, combines the best traits of all of CSIRO’s previous varieties. CSIRO says it is high yielding, produces excellent quality fibre and has outstanding resistance to fusarium wilt.


NFF announces new President, Board
The National Farmers Federation (NFF) has announced Queensland grazier Brent Finlay as the organisation’s 12th president, taking over from Duncan Fraser. A new NFF Board was also elected, with Christine Rolfe occupying the vice-president’s chair. Cotton Australia is a member of the NFF.
Click here for more information.


Cropping partner wanted
The Queensland Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) is looking for an experienced cropping partner to help demonstrate the irrigated cropping potential of the Flinders River. Expressions of interest (EOI) are being sought, and experienced croppers asked to contact DAFF on 132 523 or to receive an information pack. The EOI closes December 6, 2013.
Contact DAFF for more information.


Cotton University has an excellent video presentation by economist Allen Terhaar that covers world fibre demand, consumer fibre preferences (particularly in China and India), product competition and China's policies on synthetics. is a program by Cotton Incorporated and the Importer Support Program funded by the Cotton Board. See the video by registering at ; Registration is free.
Click here for more information.


RAS Foundation Community Futures Grant
The Royal Agricultural Society of NSW (RAS) Foundation is giving young people in rural and regional NSW the chance to secure up to $25,000 to deliver a new and innovative community project. Applications for the latest round of the RAS Foundation Community Futures Grant close on 13 January, 2014.
Click here for more information.


NSW weeds project
The NSW Government has announced the full list of projects for ongoing noxious weeds control, worth more than $11 million, to be funded in the 2013-14 financial year. Thirteen Weed Management Authorities will share in $8.5 million in funding to carry out weed management, while the Department of Primary Industries and other partners will lead other projects totalling more than $1.5 million.
Click here for more information.