ENVIRONMENTAL REPORT CARD IN

Thursday, 20th December 2012 // Breaking News, Cotton Matters, Featured // Comments (0)

Cotton Australia's Angela Bradburn participated in an industry steering committee that oversaw the third industry-wide environmental assessment undertaken by the cotton industry since 1991, carried out independently by the Canberra-based consultancy firm Inovact. an industry steering committee oversaw the third industry-wide environmental assessment undertaken by the cotton industry since 1991, carried out independently by the Canberra-based consultancy firm Inovact.

Members of the working group that steered the 3rd Environmental Assessment Project

“The assessment is an excellent ‘report card’ for the industry as it showed that most of the recommendations made in 2003 have been adopted at a high level, particularly in critical areas such as the management of water, chemicals and natural resources,” Bruce Pyke said.

When asked about important environmental priorities for cotton growing over the next three to five years, industry and external stakeholders ranked water use efficiency greenhouse emissions and soil health as the top three priorities.

Major gains have also been made in water use efficiency (three to four percent per year) over the past 10 years, by taking up research and development, such as more water efficient varieties, evaporation mitigation, reducing leakage from channels and storages, capturing and recycling irrigation tailwater, managing stormwater and improving on-farm water quality.

The assessment showed that cotton growers have improved soil management, riparian areas and native vegetation, hence contributing to increased biodiversity and the delivery of ecosystem services.

The report praised the development of an integrated research, development and extension system, the Development and Delivery Program, that delivers priority research and development, extended to growers through myBMP and the activities of the industry’s key organisations, such as CRDC, Cotton Australia, CSD and the commercial sector.

While evidence shows some improvements in energy use, greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation to climate change, the cotton industry is in an early development phase regarding
improved practices and management in these areas.

Improvements in the fuel efficiency of farm machinery and innovations to reduce traffic
(eg round module harvesters and improved farming systems) will continue to be drivers for increased energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions on cotton farms.

Cotton Australia Policy Manger Angela Bradburn and cotton grower John Watson, “Kilmarnock”
Boggabri sat on the industry steering committee guiding the assessment and subsequent
delivery of the final report to industry.

They were joined by committee members Bruce Pyke (CRDC), consultant Rachel Holloway, grower representative Nigel Corish, Ken Flower (myBMP), consultant Guy Roth and Jane Trindall, CRDC.