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Cotton Production in Northern Australia

28 June, 2024

Cotton Production in Northern Australia

Cotton production in Northern Australia is approaching its seventh season, with the industry firmly established following the opening of the Katherine cotton gin earlier this year and the construction of the Kununurra gin on track for commissioning in 2025. While still a relatively small area compared to others, there is sustained interest in what’s going on in Far Northern Queensland, the Northern Territory and the Ord Scheme in Western Australia.

This Conference session will be chaired by Simone Cameron, Cotton Australia’s Senior Policy Manager for Cotton Australia and a passionate advocate for agricultural production in Northern Australia.

According to Simone the session is about understanding where the industry has come from, how it’s navigated the challenges so far, and what the future holds as well as answering some of the difficult questions. There are many inspirational backstories that must be celebrated, shared and recognised when learning about out northern industry.

“Growing cotton in this part of the world is different in many ways, and with that sometimes comes a lack of understanding about what we’re doing up here. It’s important we can have open and robust conversations about the industry’s development in the north and we’re hoping this session will provide an opportunity to do just that,” Simone said.

An experienced line-up of speakers will cover the history, challenges and opportunities experienced over the last six seasons as well as what it takes to establish the robust legal frameworks needed to ensure the industry thrives in the long term, particularly around issues such as land tenure, water and the flow on for potential northern investment.

“One of the next challenges is around the shipping of ginned cotton from the north, and working out how to access markets that are only 11 days away by ship, compared to 19 plus days from our established southern ports. It will be great to discuss how are we managing these and other issues so we can ensure the whole cotton industry benefits from production in these new regions,” she said.

Chairman of Tipperary Group of Stations and Director of WANT Cotton, Allan Meyers and Customised Farm Management’s Managing Director, Andrew Parkes will share their insights on the complexities of investment opportunities in Northern Australia, and how to navigate them.

This will be followed by two insightful panel discussions, one from the cotton grower’s perspective, and another to share the burgeoning industry focus and outlook. The grower panel includes Luke McKay from WA, Chris Radford from Far North Queensland and Shaun Ward from the NT.

The industry priorities panel includes Cotton Info’s Sharna Holman, Jack Daniel, Research Manager for NACRA and Ben Turner, Territory Business Manager, Northern Australia from Bayer. Topics explored will include Spodoptera litura pressure, nitrogen efficiencies in crop, crop rotations, cover cropping, benchmarking our northern production systems and crop management guidelines across the north.

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