Profit and sustainability, hand-in-hand
Australian cotton farmers are constantly looking to improve profitability through increases in crop yield and fibre quality traits. They are also concerned with the sustainability of their crops in aspects such as crop water use, nutrition and pest management.
In addition, as spinning and weaving machines change, farmers need to grow cotton varieties that produce fibre suitable for these new technologies to remain competitive with synthetic fibres.
Transforming the cotton industry
CSIRO's cotton research in Narrabri, Canberra and Geelong is improving the sustainability, productivity, fibre quality and distinctiveness of the Australian cotton crop through development of high-performing varieties, matching crop management strategies, improved post-harvest fibre processing technologies, and development of value-added co-products.
Australia has the highest cotton yields in the world, exporting $2.5 billion of cotton each year. We have proudly contributed to this ranking, not only through our breeding program, but also through improved crop practices that manage pests and their resistance to pesticides while striving to ensure a responsible use of Australia's vital resources such as land and water.
Since we began developing cotton varieties in 1984, enormous improvements have been made. We've reduced Australian growers' reliance on insecticides and improved their water use efficiency, which benefits the growers' bottom line and is good news for the environment and for rural communities.
Currently, 100 percent of the Australian cotton crop is grown from CSIRO bred varieties, which has reduced pesticide use by up to 85 per cent and herbicide use by about 52 per cent.