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National research conference puts spotlight on cotton industry’s collaboration

man and women stand in a field
Centre for Agricultural Engineering researchers Dr Alison McCarthy (left) and Associate Professor Joseph Foley will co-chair the 2023 Australian Cotton Research Conference in September.

It’s no secret that cotton is one of Australia’s most lucrative and successful agricultural industries.

And that success is largely due to the collaboration and willingness of growers, and industry professionals, to adopt and share new ideas and technology.

That knowledge-sharing will be a key focus at the Association of Australian Cotton Scientists’ (AACS) 2023 Australian Cotton Research Conference, co-hosted by the University of Southern Queensland, from September 5-7.

The University’s Centre for Agricultural Engineering researchers Dr Alison McCarthy and Associate Professor Joseph Foley will co-chair the national conference in Toowoomba.

Associate Professor Foley said this conference was a great opportunity to showcase the research happening at the University of Southern Queensland.

“The theme for this year’s research conference is 'Continuing to Lead', and that’s something we really understand here at the University of Southern Queensland,” Associate Professor Foley said.

“The University – and the Centre for Agricultural Engineering – lead the way in the agricultural technology and engineering space.

“Many of us have been working in ag-tech long before it was a cool term!”

Dr McCarthy, who will also be delivering a plenary presentation about artificial intelligence and its potential applications in the cotton industry, praised the cotton industry for its willingness to explore new ideas.

“I started my research career in the cotton industry and for me, the industry has always been very welcoming of new people, new ideas and new technology, and they are early adopters of new technologies,” she said.

AACS President, Dr Paul Grundy, said the 2023 Research Conference would bring together about 170 researchers, agronomists, and extension specialists working across all aspects of cotton production, processing and the associated natural environment.

Dr Grundy said 2023 would be the second time AACS had co-hosted its national conference with the University of Southern Queensland.

“This collaboration reflects the strength and impact of agricultural science and engineering research undertaken by the University of Southern Queensland right across the cotton industry,” Dr Grundy said.

“It is also the result of strong collaborative relationships between the University’s researchers and the broader Australian cotton industry science community.”

The Cotton Research and Development Corporation (CRDC) and Cotton Seed Distributors are the two major partners for the 2023 Australian Cotton Research Conference.

CDRC Acting General Manager (Innovation), Dr Meredith Conaty, said CRDC was proud to be a sponsor of the AACS conference.

“The conference is equally as much about the latest research outcomes as it is about celebrating the outstanding scientific collaboration in the Australian cotton industry,” Dr Conaty said.

“CRDC is committed to delivering outcomes in cotton research, development and extension for industry and that can only be done with the strong support and engagement of quality research institutions, including those like UniSQ.

“We’re really excited to be working with UniSQ on a variety of ongoing research projects, and of course there’s a vast number of legacy projects that CRDC have funded at UniSQ that continue to have an impact on industry today.”

Cotton Seed Distributors (CSD) Commercial Research Manager Dr Michael Bange said he was proud to support the work of researchers because CSD’s business relied heavily on research undertaken right across the cotton industry.

“The Australian Cotton Research Conference is an exceptional opportunity for our team to meet first-hand Australian cotton researchers and learn what research can be used to support Australian cotton growers,” Dr Bange said.

“We look forward to sharing the efforts of our own team with the broader research community.”

Other partners of the event are the University of Southern Queensland, CSIRO, and Bayer.

The AACS Australian Cotton Research Conference will take place in Toowoomba from 5-7 September, 2023.

Learn more about the research the University’s Centre for Agricultural Engineering is conducting in collaboration with Australia’s cotton industry.