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Water becomes maintstream cotton industry topic

Mar '07
More than 160 cotton growers and industry observers attended the annual Cotton Industry Awards Farm Walk hosted by Monsanto Grower of the Year for 2006, Auscott Narrabri recently, where the major focus was on water use efficiency.

The field day included a tour of Auscott's cotton operations; demonstration of management techniques leading to potential water savings of up to 20per cent; and highlights of water use efficiency practices such as lateral move irrigators, re-designed storages to reduce evaporation losses, new dam construction, automated pumping sites, and monitoring and recording techniques.

A presentation on water use efficiency were also delivered by Elders Young Achiever of the Year for 2006, Sarah Hood, of Sustainable Irrigation Systems, who challenged the audience to continue to adopt innovative water measurement and management techniques to improve water use.

Sarah gave numerous examples of how leading growers are improving in the areas of whole farm efficiency measurement, system efficiency, alternative systems, and drainage management.

With this year's crop shaping up to be the smallest in 20 years, some regions experiencing below average crops for the past five years, and most regions facing minimal water allocations, the industry has no alternative but to focus on water use efficiency.

Cotton Australia chairman and Auscott general manager, Bernie George, told the field day that despite the bleak situation,some positives can be gleaned from this outlook.

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