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Episode three: Cotton Innovation in Australia

As the environmental impacts of farming cotton are becoming clear, how can Australian farmers and researchers develop more sustainable ways of growing cotton? On this episode of Better Agriculture, we explore the current state of Australia’s cotton industry, and innovations including expansion into new territories, managing climate change, and developing pest-resistant crops.

Show notes:

Our host Ed Gannon is joined by Ben Turner, Territory Business Manager for Northern Australia at Bayer Crop Science Australia New Zealand, and Andrew Parkes, Director at Customised Farm Management to discuss:

· [02:04] Ben’s rundown on the cotton industry in Australia.

· [03:15] ‘Quality, not quantity’ for Australian cotton export markets.

· [4:02] Where does Customised Farm Management fit into the industry?

· [5:09] New growth of the cotton industry in the Northern Territory, and challenges growers face in new climates.

· [8:32] Andrew and Ben’s major innovations and changes in the industry from the last decade.

· [13:30] Developments of natural pest resistance and perceptions of genetic modification by consumers.

· [19:35] Opportunities for the industry to grow, busting myths about cotton.

· [21:57] Managing water use during water availability fluctuations.

· [25:04] How is the industry going to manage the effects of climate change?

· [28:10] Ben and Andrew’s predictions for the next 10 years of cotton innovation.

Guest details

Ben Turner is Territory Business Manager for northern Australia at Bayer Crop Science. Originally from the UK, Ben has been working in farm management in Australia for 11 years. His experience includes irrigated cotton in the Riverina area as well as mixed cropping. Ben’s passion for cotton led him to take on his current role with Bayer in the burgeoning northern growing region.

Andrew Parkes is the Managing Director of Customised Farm Management, an agricultural consulting company that specialise in managing and investing in agricultural land. Based in Moree, NSW, Andrew’s work has seen him recognised as an industry leader in the production of irrigated cotton, and was inducted into the Cotton Australia Hall of Fame in 2014.

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