For a long time now, Australian farmers have led the world when it comes to sustainability and on-farm best practice. As an example, the Australian cotton industry has been managing on-farm sustainability for decades, underpinned by long term investments in research and development, the industry Best Management Practices program (myBMP), widespread grower adoption of improved practices and innovation, and strong participation in global sustainability programs.
In 1991, cotton became the first Australian agricultural industry to benchmark its environmental performance and today Australian cotton growers produce more cotton on less land, with more efficient water use and less impact on the environment than ever before.
A focus on the planet, people and the paddock has underpinned the Australian cotton industry’s sustainability framework, aptly named Planet, People, Paddock, recognising sustainability as being integral to the industry’s future. The framework has directed the industry’s work, providing a clear vision for Australia to be a global leader in sustainable cotton production. The industry has set ambitious industry-wide sustainability targets and coordinated existing and new investments to achieve these targets.
Australian cotton growers have reduced the volumes of insecticides used by 95 per cent per hectare between 1994 and 2019 and during that same timeframe, the volume of water needed to grow a bale of cotton has been reduced by 48 per cent, or 2.5 per cent each year.
Australian cotton farmers use practices such as minimum tillage, controlled traffic farming, rotational crops, cover crops and optimising fertiliser application to optimise the health of the soil on their property. On average, about 21 per cent of the area of a cotton farm has remnant native vegetation, and about four per cent is currently managed for biodiversity.
The biennial Cotton Collective event will return in 2023 from 1 – 3 August, this time held in Queensland’s Toowoomba, providing a great opportunity for Queenslanders to learn more about this incredible industry.
The global outlook for cotton, carbon for dummies, farm safety, irrigation automation, and staff attraction and retention will be just a few of the topics of focus at the event, which will make for a great couple of days with a fantastic line up of speakers, farm tours, and the hosting of the 2023 National Cotton Industry Awards.
This week we saw the announcement that Queensland’s agriculture and fisheries sector has broken another record valuation according to the latest AgTrends data. The new high of $23.44 billion for the 2022-23 financial year has surpassed the 2021-22 previous record of $23.37 billion and reflects ongoing investment in the sector. The data also showed that the raw cotton and cotton ginning industry had grown by 26.4% to over $1.5 billion.
There is no better time than now to celebrate all that agriculture brings to Queensland, our communities and our economy and acknowledge farmers across the state for the fantastic work they do every day.