21 April, 2017

Australian Cotton Industry

 I have long contended that in all respects the Australian Cotton Industry is a model that all agricultural industries in Australia, if not the world, should follow.

The following extract from a Cotton Australia submission to Government is just one example of the the quality of the science and attitude that pervades the industry.

"Improvement in Water Use Efficiency (WUE) is one of the most important drivers for the Australian cotton industry. It is not unusual for the water to account for 60% to 80% of a cotton producer’s combined land/water assets.

The submission says it is essential to understand that there are no “Silver Bullets” for WUE. There is no “One Size Fits All Solutions”, as irrigators utilise a suite of technologies and services to maximise
their water use efficiency.

These can range from simply estimating crop water requirements by digging a hole in a field with a
shovel, and assessing the water capacity of the soil by look and feel, to employing highly
sophisticated soil moisture readers, linked to satellite derived weather and plant water use data.

It can be an optimised furrow, gravity irrigation system, or pressurised drip or lateral move type
systems, or by improvement in yield from new varieties and better management techniques
deriving from world class research.

It can result from minimising evaporation by maximising storage depth and minimising surface
area, or by upskilling of labour from the most humble irrigators tasked with manually starting,
managing and stopping thousands of syphons, to university trained irrigation managers analysing
data from a whole range of sources, and making timely decisions that optimise plant growth.

Or most likely a combination of all of the above."
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