Water saving has positive impact on Australian crop production
September 15, 2021

Cutting water has not meant a loss of yield, in fact, farmers are producing more cotton with less water

Through improvements to irrigation infrastructure, Australian cotton growers have slashed water usage by almost 50 per cent to grow one bale of cotton, research has revealed.

The latest data shows Australian cotton growers have decreased water consumption from 1.43 megalitres per bale to 0.74ml/bale during the past 25 years.

Research from the NSW Department of Primary Industries, along with the Cotton Research and Development Corporation (CRDC) shows the dramatic reduction stems from improvements in irrigation infrastructure and management efficiencies, underpinned by farmer-funded research and development.

But reducing the amount of water won’t stop there, with growers looking to a target of 0.71ml/bale by 2024.

Cotton Australia CEO Adam Kay said the Australian cotton industry was very proud of this achievement.

“These findings, validated by an independent third-party research organisation, provide the most up-to-date assessment of the performance of cotton over the last 25 years,” he said.

“We recognise that sustainability is integral to the industry’s future and this framework identifies the key environmental, economic and social sustainability areas for further improvement, investment and commitment.”

CRDC, in partnership with the Commonwealth Government and cotton growers, has funded research and development to improve and monitor water use efficiency for decades.

It is important to note that Australian cotton growers have clear limits on the volume of water that can be used.

The volume each farmer is entitled to changes yearly, based on seasonal conditions.

With the regulatory framework that limits water use, Australian farmers work to increase the efficiency of water allocated to them, and part of that is choosing what crop to grow each year with the water that’s available.


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