Report from the Chair and Executive Director
Adapting to change, rising to challenges, investing in innovation.
This year has thrown some unforeseen circumstances at us all, yet agriculture remains constant. Our primary producers continue to do what they do best: there are crops to plant and harvest, with some recent promising rainfall across many of our drought- affected regions. Likewise, despite the challenges and dynamic circumstances, the research conducted by our world-leading team of Australian cotton scientists and researchers also continues, through the investment provided by CRDC.
The 2019-20 year marked the second year of investment under our CRDC Strategic RD&E Plan 2018-23.
During this year, we continued to focus on our strategic priorities – increasing productivity and profitability of Australian cotton farms; improving cotton farming sustainability and value chain competitiveness; building the adaptive capacity of the Australian cotton industry; strengthening partnerships and adoption; and driving RD&E impact.
We invest in these areas to ensure our cotton growers, our communities, and the wider industry are all prepared to manage challenges and capitalise on opportunities.
If the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us anything, it is how prepared we are as an industry to adapt to change, challenges and uncertainty. Building adaptive capacity is a core part of our Strategic Plan 2018-23 as we recognise our environment is dynamic. We must be also. Through sound and innovative research and support for our research community, growers and industry, we aim to support the future success of Australian cotton.
A major component of our work during 2019-20 has been the completion and release of our industry’s second Sustainability Report with Cotton Australia. This report has been five years in the making, and it reflects how important we as an industry view the impact we have: environmentally, socially and economically.
The report looks at eight critical areas for the industry – water, carbon, biodiversity, pesticides, quality of work life (safety, diversity and training), wellbeing and social capital, efficiency, and profitability – all areas that we invest in to ensure continuous improvement. It’s a shared responsibility, and we pride ourselves on the strong relationships that we have with our growers, researchers, government and other core partners, and the work that we’re doing to extend, adopt or commercialise our research.
Collaboration is at the very heart of everything we do. Partnerships and co-investments, both within the cotton industry and with other industries, deliver transformational outcomes. There isn’t a single research project we invest in that isn’t delivered in partnership with our growers, researchers and collaborators. We also partner with those outside our sector to solve issues that are bigger than cotton alone. In 2019-20, 48 per cent of CRDC’s investments were in cross-sectoral RD&E.
In this report, we bring you an update on our progress towards our strategic goals – our investments, our innovations, and our intended impacts – two years into our Strategic RD&E Plan 2018–23.