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New cotton research plans address storm damage

10 Jan 2019

A glasshouse damaged by storm at ACRI Narrabri

NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and CSIRO will this week meet with research partners to plan the Australian Cotton Research Institute (ACRI) research program at Narrabri, following storm damage late last year.

ACRI director, Rod Jackson, said a severe storm on 20 December 2018, with hail and wind gusts up to 150 kilometres per hour, destroyed or seriously comprised most of the 2018-19 field based cotton research program at the institute.

“The storm completely defoliated cotton plants, brought down powerlines, cut the electricity supply and severely damaged glasshouses and climate control systems,” Mr Jackson said.

“NSW DPI and CSIRO are meeting with industry and research investment partners to determine the scientific viability of the ACRI 2018-19 cotton research program.

“Emergency repairs have been completed to enable our laboratory and glasshouse research programs to continue.”

An initial estimate of storm damage to infrastructure is around $2 million, but that figure doesn’t include the impact on field research trials and crops.

CSIRO site leader, Warwick Stiller, said the storm impact would be felt throughout the cotton industry.

“The research conducted at ACRI directly impacts on the development of new varieties and production practices growers would use in the coming seasons,” Dr Stiller said.

“Our challenge now is to work with the cotton industry and our partners to ensure we get these programs back on track as soon as possible.

“We’ve faced similar setbacks in the past and managed to bounce back.”

Photographs available from bernadette.york@dpi.nsw.gov.au

Media contact: Bernadette York (02) 6938 1664, 0427 773 785