Skip to Content Skip to Navigation
Back to Highlights

CRDC launches EOI to partner with cotton industry

Words by Judy Kennedy

The Cotton Research & Development Corporation (CRDC), a partnership between the Federal Government and cotton growers, invests in world-leading research, development and extension (RD&E) to benefit Australia’s dynamic cotton industry, which exports $2 billion worth of product annually.

In 2020-21, cotton growers and the Australian Government invested $18.7 million in RD&E through the CRDC, delivering 300 projects in collaboration with 100 research partners.

The industry is renowned for its rapid development and adoption of new technologies that aim to ensure continual innovation and digital transformation, and has released EOIs (expressions of interest) for four key challenges on growAG. from 13 projects in the 2022-23 investment round:

  • Re-use of textile waste and its potential for composting on-farm as a carbon and nutrient source
  • Benchmarking water use productivity for irrigated and dryland cotton farming systems
  • Validation of soil testing guidelines and critical values for nutrients for the management of modern cotton cultivars
  • Technology to improve field scouting and decision support

Related organisations

Logo for Cotton Research and Development Corporation (CRDC)
Cotton

Cotton Research and Development Corporation (CRDC)

The Cotton Research and Development Corporation (CRDC) delivers outcomes in cotton research, development and extension (RD&E) for the Australian …
  • Location

    Australia

  • Organisation type

    Research funding body

EOIs are part of the industry’s annual investment cycle where growers and researchers are consulted to identify new priorities for research spending says CRDC’s General Manager of R&D Investment, Allan Williams.

“CRDC’s role is to invest in and manage RD&E projects on behalf of cotton growers and the Australian Government, and it’s home to a whole host of developments that are at the heart of the sector’s ability to evolve and innovate,” explains Allan.

RELATED: CRDC powering innovation for the cotton industry

“We already have a strong network of researchers but we identified four key projects from 13 as being a good fit for the growAG. audience, which gives us a wonderful platform to extend these opportunities to a different and non-traditional audience,” says Allan.

“Of the four projects, three are field-based so are more likely to attract Australia-based researchers or companies, but the technology to improve field scouting could feasibly be met by a global provider.”

He’s keen to encourage collaborations and a range of skillsets for all 13 RD&E projects to be funded in 2022-23, so the EOIs have been kept deliberately broad in scope. But the application of technology is integral.

RELATED: Agritech applications could revolutionise the cotton farming industry

“Benchmarking water use productivity is about meeting our social licence obligations and tracking water use as efficiently and as viably as possible, and technology such as remote sensing offers ways to automate data from a number of points and explore productivity metrics for irrigated and dryland cotton,” says Allan.

“Finding the workforce for agronomy scouting and support is a challenge, but new technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning have the potential to automate or augment some crop activities, particularly monitoring for insects and pests that are highly mobile and difficult to see. If we have a picture of what pests are doing area-wide, it could both increase the number of management options available and the timeliness of response.

RELATED: Biological controls help better manage insect pests

“The compostability of cotton fabric is a potential means of creating a circular system of cotton production, that could allow growers to return carbon to the soil and potentially benefit soil health and functionality, which would be an exciting development. Currently there is no established method for composting cotton fabrics, and its effects on soil health and functionality is unclear.

“And the management of modern cotton cultivars is different to historical varieties – they are higher yielding and produce plants with significantly more biomass than previously. This project will add a great deal to the picture, the industry has of plant demand for nutrients, and ensure growers have the right tools to assess their soils and apply nutrients at an optimum time and quantity.”

Allan says the idea behind the EOI process is to not be too prescriptive, but to allow the researchers to bring their ideas to each project and enable innovation.

“We would encourage people to contact CRDC early to understand more about what we are considering, talk through CRDC’s expectations and resolve any other queries they may have before proceeding,” says Allan.

“We want to continue to set the direction for the Australian cotton industry through innovation, increased commercialisation and digital transformation.”

CRDC is calling for full research proposals in response to the EOIs to be submitted up to Wednesday, 13 October. Chick through to see more on:

  • Re-use of textile waste and its potential for composting on-farm as a carbon and nutrient source
  • Benchmarking water use productivity for irrigated and dryland cotton farming systems
  • Validation of soil testing guidelines and critical values for nutrients for the management of modern cotton cultivars
  • Technology to improve field scouting and decision support

 

PLEASE NOTE: This opportunity is now closed. Please contact the team here if you would be interested in similar opportunities in the future.