New year underway with picking to begin in coming week
January has arrived and the team at Cotton Australia is back after the festive season working to support and advocate for our industry.
With the ongoing drought and reduced water allocations, the new year is set to bring challenges for many. Our forecast crop for this season is around 2.6 million bales, which is well down on last year’s.
Approximately 200,000 hectares of irrigated cotton has been planted this season and about 83,000 green hectares of dryland cotton has been planted.
The very earliest crops that were planted in the first week of August in central Queensland are set to be picked in the coming week.
For more information about Cotton Australia’s work, or to contact us, visit our website and social media channels.
AgSkilled: Numbers limited for the new governance training program in Narrabri
A new specialised training program will give New South Wales cotton growers the skills to be effective industry representatives at committee and board levels.
The governance training program is being offered by Tocal College under the AgSkilled initiative.
The course is aimed at cotton and grain growers and farm managers who are interested in becoming more involved with agricultural industry associations.
The two-day workshop will cover meeting management, board member responsibilities, working within an organisational structure and understanding the roles of different committee positions.
A pre-course webinar is available online in January, followed by a two-day face-to-face workshop at Narrabri on February 13th and 14th. A post-course webinar will be available from February 15th.
To apply, contact Heidi Smith 0419 754 608 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Employment law: new flexible work rules implemented
Changes to workplace laws, which may affect cotton growers, are now in effect.
From December 1st, 2018, modern awards were updated to include new rules about requests for flexible work arrangements.
Under the changes, before responding to a request from an eligible employee, an employer must first discuss the request with the employee to try to reach an agreement about a change to their working arrangements.
Requests can only be refused on reasonable business grounds. If employers refuse a request, they need to provide the employee with a written response.
In another law change, family and domestic violence leave has been added to the National Employment Standards, and applies to all employees in the Fair Work System.
Employees experiencing family and domestic violence can now access up to five days of unpaid leave to deal with the impact of domestic violence.
Have your say on Traceability
The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is currently developing a National Traceability Framework to enhance Australia’s agricultural traceability systems, improve competitiveness, and provide assurance for customers both domestically and abroad.
Modelling has shown that broader traceability and biosecurity could increase agricultural production by $1 billion a year.
Along with all of the other major Australian primary industries, Cotton Australia has been contributing to the development of the framework, providing input at a series of workshops.
From now until January 23rd, the Department is seeking feedback from a broader range of stakeholders on a set of draft principles that will shape the final Framework.
Growers are encouraged to read the draft principles and provide feedback via the Have Your Say website.
Update your knowledge on Chain of Responsibility laws
Growers and transport contractors are being encouraged to update their knowledge around new Chain of Responsibility laws.
In October 2018, Chain of Responsibility laws were updated to more closely align them with work health and safety regulations.
Under the changes, companies that operate, load, drive, send or receive goods using a heavy vehicle need to make certain all reasonably practicable steps are taken to ensure vehicles are properly loaded and goods secured.
A free online training course has been developed by Agsafe to help growers and transport contractors understand the changes.
Changes to the NSW water metering framework
The NSW Government has introduced a new metering framework for non-urban water to improve the standard of water meters across the state.
From 1 April 2019, all new and replacement meters must be pattern-approved, installed and validated by a duly qualified person and must have tamper-evident seals and data loggers.
The new requirements for accurate, tamper-proof meters will be rolled out over five years.
- Stage 1: Surface water users with pumps of 500 mm or larger must comply by 1 December 2019
- Stage 2: Remaining users in northern inland regions must comply by 1 December 2020
- Stage 3: Remaining users in southern inland regions must comply by 1 December 2021
- Stage 4: Remaining users in the coastal regions must comply by 1 December 2023
ICAC releases latest statistics
The International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC) has released its forecast for the 2018/19 season.
Despite consecutive increases in the two previous seasons, global cotton production is expected to decrease two percent this year to 26.1 million tonnes.
Global consumption is also forecast to drop slightly from 26.8 million tonnes in 2017/18 to 26.7 million tonnes.
However, ICAC has predicted global cotton area to hold steady at 33 million tonnes.
Australia is expected to see a minor gain in stocks this season, but not enough to offset declines in China’s warehouses, which will see stocks decrease globally from 18.8 million tonnes to 18.2 million tonnes.