Collaboration and co-investment
Cooperation and collaboration are fundamental to our operation. We work in partnership with industry bodies, commercial entities and RDCs to achieve strategic outcomes for the industry, and to leverage higher returns for our investments.
This collaborative approach underpins our investment strategy. We partner in over 80 per cent of RD&E projects conducted in the cotton sector, and in 2019–20, 48 per cent of CRDC investments were in cross-sectoral RD&E.
CRDC’s cooperation extends from national and international initiatives to cotton industry-specific and local initiatives – from participating in national cross-sectoral collaborations on water and soils; to the industry-specific extension joint venture, CottonInfo; and at the local level, partnerships with Cotton Grower Associations on CRDC Grassroots Grants.
Cotton Australia and its members provide advice to CRDC on research strategy and investments from the perspective of cotton growers. This is achieved through research advisory panels aligned with CRDC’s programs.
All CRDC projects are delivered in partnership with key research partners. In 2019–20, CRDC partnered with 99 research partners to deliver RD&E projects and outcomes to cotton growers and the wider industry. The full list of partners can be found in Appendix 3: RD&E Portfolio.
In addition to the Cotton Australia research advisory panels, cotton growers also contribute to RD&E through participation in other industry committees, such as the Cotton Australia Transgenic and Insect Management Strategy (TIMS) Committee and Technical Panels, to provide practical guidance on the implementation of stewardship practices for GM traits.
Growers are also actively involved in RD&E by conducting on-farm trials – a critical component of the RD&E process. This involves a financial contribution through direct on- farm trial costs and opportunity costs, and the provision of growers’ time, knowledge and expertise. Thirty-five per cent of growers host research trials on their farms, with growers contributing an average of 19 hours and $5500 towards their on-farm trials.
Cotton industry programs: CottonInfo and myBMP
CottonInfo, the cotton industry’s joint extension program, is a collaboration between joint venture partners CRDC, Cotton Australia and CSD Ltd. CottonInfo is the conduit between researchers and growers, communicating research results and encouraging their adoption.
Similarly, myBMP, the industry’s best management practices program, is a collaboration between CRDC and Cotton Australia. This program links RD&E outcomes to best management practice and provides self-assessment mechanisms, practical tools and resources to help growers grow cotton using best practice. It is an integral part of the CottonInfo program.
Rural Research and Development Corporations
CRDC is one of 15 Rural RDCs that come together under the banner of the Council of Rural RDCs (CRRDC) to coordinate efforts, collaborate and co-invest in projects and achieve consistency in communication. The focus is on improving efficiencies, maximising the impact of research outcomes, and avoiding duplication in research. The scale of this collaboration extends from large national research programs to small local projects and administration, to bring a national focus in dealing with climate variability, soil health, irrigation, plant biosecurity, crop protection, farm safety and human capacity. CRDC continues to work with the CRRDC to investigate administrative efficiency gains within the RDCs and the rural R&D system as a whole.
CRDC also partners with fellow RDCs on grants under the Australian Government’s Rural R&D for Profit program.
Australian Government grants
CRDC works in partnership with the Australian Government and fellow RDCs on a number of ongoing grant projects.
CRDC managed three programs in 2019–20 under Government grants, contributing a combined $14.1 million into RD&E funding across the life of the programs, for the benefit of the Australian cotton industry, the community and other industries.
- More Profit from Nitrogen: enhancing the nutrient- use efficiency of intensive cropping and pasture systems (funded 2016–20, with $5.9 million from the Rural R&D for Profit program – round two). Involves fellow RDCs Dairy Australia, Sugar Research Australia and Horticulture Innovation Australia and other research partners. Administered by the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.
- Smarter Irrigation for Profit – phase 2 (funded 2019–22, with $7.1 million from the Rural R&D for Profit program – round four). Involves fellow RDCs Dairy Australia, Sugar Research Australia, AgriFutures Australia, and the Grains Research and Development Corporation and other research partners. Administered by the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.
- New Technologies to Improve Natural Resources (Biodiversity) on Australian Cotton Farms – Cotton Landcare Tech Innovations 2021 (funded 2018–22, with $1.1 million from the National Landcare Program: Smart Farming Partnerships initiative – round one). Administered by the Department of Social Services Community Grants Hub.
CRDC was also involved in eight other programs through Rural R&D for Profit program grants led by other RDCs during 2019–20:
- Digital Technologies for More Dynamic Management of Disease, Stress and Yield (funded 2016–20, led by Australian Grape and Wine Authority; $3 million from the Rural R&D for Profit program – round two).
- Forewarned is Forearmed: Managing the Impacts of Extreme Climate Events (funded 2017–20, led by Meat & Livestock Australia Limited in partnership with CRDC through the Managing Climate Variability program; $6.2 million in funding from the Rural R&D for Profit program round three).
- Improving Plant Pest Management Through Cross-Industry Deployment of Smart Sensors, Diagnostics and Forecasting (funded 2017–20, led by Horticulture Innovation Australia in partnership with CRDC; $6.8 million in funding from the Rural R&D for Profit program round three).
- Increasing Farmgate Profits, the Role of Natural Capital Accounts (funded 2017–20, led by Forest and Wood Products Australia in partnership with CRDC; $900,000 in funding from the Rural R&D for Profit program – round three).
- Area-Wide Management for Cropping Systems Weeds, Investigating the Weed Management, Social and Economic Opportunity (funded 2019–22, led by Grains Research and Development Corporation in partnership with CRDC; $1.9 million in funding from the Rural R&D for Profit program – round four).
- Underpinning agricultural productivity and biosecurity by weed biological control (funded 2019–22, led by AgriFutures Australia in partnership with CRDC; $7.5 million in funding from the Rural R&D for Profit program round four).
- Biorefineries for Profit – phase 2 (funded 2019–22, led by Sugar Research Australia in partnership with CRDC; $800,000 in funding from the Rural R&D for Profit program – round four).
- Boosting Diagnostic Capacity for Plant Production Industries (funded 2019–22, led by Grains Research and Development Corporation in partnership with CRDC; $4.6 million in funding from the Rural R&D for Profit program – round four).