Long, uniform, strong, fine and mature cotton fibre provides better returns to growers and opens more market opportunities for premium fabrics. We're working to enhance cotton fibre quality for a sustainable and competitive Australian industry.

The challenge

Staying globally competitive

Cotton is used to make everything from t-shirts to tents and demand for fibres continues to grow.

Scientist holding cotton sample next to yarn machine.

We're improving cotton fibre quality to enhance local productivity.  ©

However, arable land for global cotton production is approaching its maximum capacity and factors such as water use and pest control challenge growers. Synthetic or manmade fibres are also increasingly being used in textiles.

Improving the quality and value of cotton fibre to differentiate from other cotton and synthetic fibres will help support a sustainable, more productive Australian cotton industry into the future.

Our response

Improving cotton from seed to shirt

By improving the productivity, fibre quality and distinctiveness of the Australian cotton crop, our research has helped Australian farmers produce the highest yield of cotton in the world.

We have done this by working with the cotton industry to study the effect of crop production and harvest treatments on yield and fibre to understand how to get the best cotton fibre properties.

We measure these properties using Cottonscope, a new instrument developed by our team to directly measure fibre fineness and maturity. We then use our Cottonspec software to model the effect fibre properties will have on yarn quality.

These technologies also help us understand the relationship between cotton fibre properties and the way the fabric handles in order to affect better handle properties in cotton fabric.

Our post-harvest cotton research is ensuring industry sustainability.  ©

In addition to helping growers get the best crop quality possible, we are investigating preserving the fibre quality and improving yields in the ginning process (removing cotton fibre from the cottonseed) and developing new uses for cotton crop by-products, such as the stalk, gin trash and cottonseed oil.

Our work is leading to a more productive industry, directly benefiting cotton growers, their communities and the economy.

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