THE COTTON industry recognised its most outstanding achievers at the 2016 Australian Cotton Industry Awards held in conjunction with the Australian Cotton Conference on the Gold Coast.
Recipients in the five categories of the Awards were honoured at a special awards night dinner.
The Awards program recognises excellence and achievement in Australia’s cotton industry throughout the supply chain, from growers and ginners to product suppliers, consultants, agronomists and researchers.
Monsanto Grower of the Year
Ian, Marilyn and Harry Carter, “Connamara”, Pine Ridge, NSW
The Carters farm a 2500-hectare dryland operation, “Connamara”, on the fertile black soils of the Liverpool Plains. Their ‘lean and mean’ management style means they highly scrutinise all nitrogen and pest control inputs in an effort to maximise profitability of the operation. Using a combination of a four-year cotton rotation, no till farming, 1.5-metre beds and the innovative use of water injection, Ian can conserve soil moisture and drive yield outcomes through the erratic seasonal conditions. Ian’s 35 years of experience in farming has helped him quickly adapt to the cotton production system that he has been implementing for the last five years. He earlier received this year’s Upper Namoi Cotton Grower of the Year Award.
AgriRisk High Achiever of the Year
Tim and Roger Commins, Tiralee Commins Enterprises, Whitton, NSW
Tim and Roger Commins manage a multi-enterprise operation near Whitton in the Southern Valleys of NSW. They and their 24 staff manage a 350ha hardwood eucalyptus plantation, a wine tank and storage facility, hydroponic seedless mandarin plantation (in partnership) and a Murray Cod fish farm, along with 1500ha of irrigated cotton, 160ha of faba beans and 200ha of wheat. Highly innovative growers, they are currently converting their farms from siphons to bankless channels to automate much of their irrigation, minimising labour needs and creating machinery efficiencies. Relying on a winter cereals and faba bean rotation and reducing the amount of back-to-back cotton helps to maximise their cotton yields and provide for a long term production system.
Rebecca Fing, Cotton Australia regional manager, Goondiwindi, Qld
Rebecca Fing’s breadth of experience in the cotton industry belies her young age. For more than 14 years she has combined her love of cotton with her love of training. As well as her role as Cotton Australia regional manager for the Macintyre Valley, and her positions of leadership in the ‘women in cotton’ organisation, Wincott, she has also helped more than 800 cotton industry staff members to gain formal qualifications in agriculture and business management. She has helped to make the industry more productive by improving attraction and retention of staff and increasing their skills and knowledge levels.
Guy Roth, Roth Rural, Narrabri, NSW
Dr Guy Roth has been a significant contributor to cotton industry research, delivery and education over the past 25 years. He has created a range of platforms that have underpinned significant achievements and developments for the whole cotton industry. His research interests have stretched from irrigation technologies and remote sensing, to integrative research into production, social and environmental aspects of cotton farming systems. He has attracted significant funding to industry research, mentored countless other researchers and managed integral cotton industry organisations over the length of his career.
John Marshall had a distinguished 40-year career in cotton before retiring in 2016.
He spent 20 years with Queensland Department of Primary Industries (QDPI) as a Soil Conservation Officer before moving into cotton-specific work, as an extension officer with QDPI in Dalby, from 1992-6. His work in Dalby helped kick-start grower confidence in dryland cotton production.
In 1996 John joined the CSD Extension team as a technical expert in the field, also based in Dalby.
John played a significant role in the regional testing and extension part of the process of introducing new varieties.
Over the years John has worked with growers from the Darling Downs, Balonne, South Burnett, Dawson-Callide, Burdekin and Central Queensland regions, analysing the performance of cotton across both irrigated and dryland systems, conventional and transgenic varieties.
John was critical in the rapid formulation and delivery of a Silver Leaf Whitefly management strategy in Queensland’s Central Highlands, which prevented significant damage to crops in 2013/14. With Greg Kauter, he organised a study tour to the United States for 12 growers, research staff and consultants to see their management of the pest and brought this home to Australia.
John has been one of the industry’s true quiet achievers, and his insight will be sorely missed.