Within weeks of being named Australia's Young Farmer of the Year, Goondiwindi cotton grower Nigel Corish has been awarded a prestigious Nuffield Scholarship.
Corish received the Young Farmer of the Year award at the Australian Farmer of the Year Awards in Melbourne last week.
The Awards, now in their fourth year, promote a positive image of Australian farmers and their families, and encourage careers and investment in Australian agriculture.
They were hosted by Kondinin Group and ABC Rural. For more information on the Awards, CLICK HERE.
He has also been awarded a Nuffield Scholarship to study fertiliser use efficiency (FUE) in irrigated cotton crops. Corish received the award at Nuffield's National Conference dinner in Perth this week.
The Corish family business consists of four mixed farming properties on the NSW-QLD border, with irrigated cotton the main production crop (about 4000 ha grown annually). They also grow about 4000 ha of dryland cultivated crops, including wheat, chickpeas and sorghum, as well as operating a lamb feedlot and running 130 head of Angus breeder cows.
Nigelʼs role in the business is to manage and operate one of the properties, Yambocully, and is also part of the Corish Farms management group, which manages the financial decisions across its businesses.
With fertiliser, and in particular nitrogen, being one of the biggest farm input costs, Corish is keen to study how to improve both FUE and Nitrogen Uptake Efficiency (NUE) on both his own farm and across the industry.
“On our farms we are spending between $500 and $700 per hectare on fertiliser per year – the amount of nitrogen applied per hectare has increased to maintain and increase the high yields on the farms, budgeting on getting 12 bales to the hectare," Corish says.
"There are a number of different forms of nitrogen and a number of different crop application methods - the studies will allow me to find the most efficient type and way to apply nitrogen to the crop, and study the critical application levels that are recommended to growers,” he explains.
With farm management and crop rotation also determining what fertiliser inputs are required, Nigelʼs studies will also examine different rotations to improve NUE. In addition he will investigate what soil constraints are resulting in poor NUE.
Nigel hopes to visit USA, Brazil, China and Europe to complete his studies.
Nuffield's cotton scholarship program is supported by the Cotton Research and Development Corporation (CRDC) and Cotton Australia.
Cotton Australia CEO, Adam Kay, says: “Nigel Corish will be a tremendous ambassador for Australia's cotton industry overseas, and we congratulate him on his success in achieving a Nuffield Scholarship.”
He says the Australian cotton industry's strong commitment to innovation, research and development has been the cornerstone of its success, and the Nuffield scholarship programs play an important part in that process.
“Cottonʼs commitment to research has achieved enormous progress in crucial areas for the industry, such as water and chemical efficiency, on-farm management and environmental outcomes,” Mr Kay says.
“The Cotton Research and Development Corporation and Cotton Australia are proud to support Nuffield's scholarship program, which helps Australian cotton growers learn from advanced farming techniques from around the world.”
Nuffield Australia is an organisation providing opportunities to Australian farmers to travel overseas on an agricultural research scholarship. It is a 16-week program consisting of both group and individual travel. In March 2014 we will have one group travelling through Canada, United States (California and Washington DC), Mexico, Europe, Brazil and New Zealand, while a second group will tour South Africa, Kenya, Eastern Europe, Europe and USA.