Learn about the Australian cotton industry from the growers who produce the crop.
Drew Knights' family has grown cotton for almost half a century.
“Everything that we do is family-oriented; it’s a family decision to grow the crops that we grow, whether it’s cotton at that time when the water is available, or if the water comes later, it’s the crop that we grow then. It’s a pure, family decision, it’s a family business.
“Our family chooses to grow cotton because it’s a financial decision. Cotton gives us the best returns per megalitre. There are other commodities out there that we could grow, but at the end of the day, for us, they’re less labour-intensive, which means we don’t need the workforce that we currently have, which would then mean we’d have to let the workforce go.
“We choose to stick with cotton because it’s what we’ve done for 46, 50 years, and it works.
“If you shut down our little area from cotton, you may as well say ‘there’s the township gone’ because it is cotton-reliant.
“I’m not saying cotton is everything, but it is what it is here.
“We as a community – everybody’s involved in it, everybody – store owners, spare parts owners, fuel sellers, you name it – we’re here for cotton.
“The amount of money that the cotton industry as a whole [is spending], and I mean as a whole, everybody’s working on this together, to be so water efficient because it is such a scarce resource, you can’t buy it if it’s not there. You’ve got to be efficient.
“Everything is reused, everything’s calculated; we’ve got technology telling us when the head ditches are full, when the tail water’s coming out – you name it, it’s out there, and it’s getting better.”