Research, technology and innovation

  • Cotton growers pay a compulsory research levy per bale of cotton produced, which is matched by the Australian Government.
  • Boosting environmental, social and economic benefits is a key focus of the cotton industry’s research and development efforts.
  • The cotton industry’s research and development work is largely driven by growers.

Australia’s cotton industry is underpinned by a significant research effort that is funded by cotton growers in partnership with the Australian Government through the Cotton Research and Development Corporation (CRDC). This research has delivered significant benefits to the industry, rural communities and Australia.

Australian cotton growers pay a compulsory research levy of $2.25 per bale of cotton they produce, which is matched by the Australian Government, up to a limit of 0.5 per cent of the gross value of production.

The cotton research program has a strong focus on innovation and improving the sustainability and profitability of the Australian cotton industry. It covers a wide range of research areas including farming systems, human adaptive capacity and the value chain.

This research investment underpins the Australian cotton industry and how it is recognised as world leaders in the adoption of technology, innovation, environmental management and the production of high-quality, high-yielding cotton.

Focus of research and development

Following consultation with growers, one of Cotton Australia’s roles is to advise the Cotton Research and Development Corporation on where growers believe research investments should be made. This ensures the research being delivered by the program is relevant, timely and will see real value at a practical level.

The Australian cotton industry groups research priorities under four core themes:

  • Optimised farming systems – including new technologies, on-farm resource use efficiency, innovations in cotton production.
  • Protection from biotic threats & environmental stresses - including successful crop protection, stewardship, and identifying and responding to threats such as drought and climate change.
  • Improve cotton farming sustainability and value chain competitiveness - including natural resource management, reducing cotton’s environmental footprint, and producing quality cotton that is valued and in demand.
  • Adaptive capacity & enabling strategies – increasing the science and innovation capability of the industry, facilitate futures thinking, and improve resilience.

Delivering increased economic, social and environmental benefits for the Australian cotton industry and wider community is the key focus of investment in research and development.

The research effort also supports partnerships and collaboration, innovation and commercialisation, and the industry’s best management practice program, myBMP.

The Cotton Research and Development Corporation (CRDC) works with industry to invest in research, development and extension (RD&E) for a more profitable, sustainable and dynamic cotton industry.

In 2018-19, CRDC invested $24.1 million in 285 RD&E projects across five key program areas: farmers, industry, customers, people and performance. The research was carried out in collaboration with 116 research partners and growers, who conducted on-farm trials.