The triumvirate of cotton-based Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs) concluded with the finalisation of the Cotton Catchment Communities CRC (Cotton CRC) in June 2012. Eighteen years of significant investment and collaboration have produced an array of valuable outcomes. Importantly, the dividends from this research and development journey will continue for many years to come for the industry and for the catchments and communities in which it operates.
The CRC had five key programs: The Farm, The Catchment, The Community, The Product and The Adoption. There were a number of factors influencing the work to be done in each of these programs:
- The drying phase in south-east Australia that was causing water supplies to retract was becoming a major issue, putting great pressure on the need for even higher water use efficiencies.
- Natural resource management beyond simply water was becoming a more critical issue, especially vegetation and biodiversity, with the cotton industry seen as an important driver for the uptake of ecosystem services and catchment management activities.
- Transgenic cotton varieties had proved a fundamental and beneficial platform for robust Integrated Pest Management (IPM).
- Community issues have always been a critical to cotton, given the importance of regional towns as a source of employees, skills and services.
- Cotton is the largest natural fibre market in the world and has become a major world commodity. While Australia excels in its production, ensuring we remain competitive and continue to attract premium prices was seen as a crucial issue.
It is well known there is a time lag between undertaking research and its publication. The Special Editions (Parts 1 & 2) of Crop and Pasture Science are a final strategy to record and capture some of the collaborative research undertaken by the Cotton CRC research teams. It is by no means a comprehensive capture of all activities, rather a legacy of some specific activities that build upon other work that has already been published and disseminated. Part 2 of this Special Edition will be published in a forthcoming issue of Crop and Pasture Science and will include a second set of 12 papers.
This special issue of the Journal will be of particular interest to research scientists, resource managers, consultants, as well as farmers, and is essential reading for anyone interested in cotton management and the transgenic technologies.
Visit the Crop and Pasture Science home page. Online edition now available.