Australia produces 3 million bales of cotton and has a reputation for producing high quality fibre sought by buyers in Indonesia, China, Korea and Japan. Cotton is the 3rd largest agricultural export crop and the 5th largest rural export earner. The cotton industry generates on average over $1.5 billion per year in export revenue, and underpins the viability of many rural communities.
NSW Department of Primary Industries Cotton Health Unit (CHU) is located at the Australian Cotton Research Institute (ACRI) in Narrabri. It is in the centre of New South Wales main cotton production areas.
NSW DPI scientists at the CHU work closely with growers, collaborate with scientists in CSIRO, Cotton CRC and the universities and conduct research in the following areas:
- Development and adoption of improved integrated non-chemical and chemical management of insects and mite pests on cotton
- Development and adoption of practices and technologies that reduce the spread of and impact of diseases on cotton
- Development of improved integrated non-chemical and chemical management of weeds in cotton
- Development and implementation of resistance management strategies for insecticides and transgenic technologies to ensure insect resistance development is minimised in cotton system
Generally, the research undertaken by the unit helps the Australian Cotton industry to develop strategies for a sustainable cotton production in Australia. The benefit of the research to the cotton industry includes reduced used of insecticides, herbicides, adoption of environmentally friendly integrated pest, disease and weed management. In addition, scientists in the unit are also involved in the development of resistance management strategies for both transgenic and insecticide technologies that ensure the development of insect resistance to Bt cotton crops and synthetic insecticides is delayed and minimized.
Novel pest management strategies are currently being developed by the unit in collaboration with commercial partners.
The Cotton Health Unit has both research and extension programs. They include:
(1) Integrated Pest Management
(2) Integrated Disease Management
(3) Integrated Weed Management
(4) Resistance Management programs and
(5) Technology transfer.
Scientists in each program conduct research to determine optimum agronomic inputs for cotton.
The Technology Transfer program collects research information from research programs, and prepares and distributes resource materials to cotton producers. It also provides immediate access to key industry organisations through its grower database and internet site.
Facilities and Resources
The Australian Cotton Research Institute (ACRI) has research and technical staff of 52 (off-cotton season) and 90 (cotton season) and is located on 277 hectares of irrigated agricultural land on the Namoi river. It includes conference rooms, glasshouses, laboratories, cotton gins, controlled environment growth rooms, insectaries, workshops and conference rooms.
During the last 3 years, ACRI has received significant State and Federal funding for new infrastructure and upgrades to renovate soil science and chemical ecology laboratories, and offices for technicians and postgraduate students. The Institute competes strongly for external funding support for its research and extension activities from industry bodies, states and federal organizations.
Partners and alliances
1. Cotton Catchment Communities Cooperative Research Centre (Cotton CRC): This CRC is based at ACRI and allows very close collaboration with the Cotton Research Development Corporation, CSIRO, University of New England, and Queensland DPI&F as well as other partners to deliver outcomes for the cotton industry.
2. DeltaPine Ltd.: This Alliance allows NSW DPI scientists to collaborate with DeltaPine Research and breeding program on research and extension activities of common interest.
3. NativeFire Pty Ltd: The alliance allows collaboration and commercialization semiochemical products developed by NSW DPI scientists.
4. Caltex Pty Ltd and Spray Adjuvants Company of Australia (SACOA). The alliance has allowed the development and commercialization of Petroleum Spray oils for cotton pest management.
5. Becker-Underwood Alliance: This alliance allows NSW DPI scientists to develop and commercialize myco-insecticides in cotton pest management.
6. Growth Agriculture Pty Ltd Alliance: This alliance allows the development and commercialization of insect behaviour modifying compounds in the Australian Cotton Industry.
7. Syngenta Pty Ltd Alliance: This alliance allows NSW DPI Pathology program to collaborate with Syngenta in the development of systemic fungicides against cotton diseases
8. Dupont Pty Ltd alliance: The alliance allows DPI scientists to monitor resistance of insecticides used against cotton pests.
9. Universities of Queensland, Griffith, New England, Western Sydney, Southern Cross Alliance: Allows NSW DPI scientists to co-supervise postgraduate students in these Universities. It also allows the postgraduate students to conduct the research part of their study at the Cotton Research Institute.
The Cotton Health Unit has online summaries of its scientific outputs. In some cases the summary has the full outputs available as a PDF which can be downloaded. The scientific outputs are arranged by year of publication.
Find a list of Cotton Health scientists
Principal Research Scientist Cotton Health
Phone: 02 6799 1525
Fax: 02 6799 1503