Farm Table says:
What is the problem?
This paper specifically addresses the conference theme “Building a productive, diverse and more sustainable landscapes” using the Australian cotton industry of NSW and Queensland as a case study. A meta-analysis of the Australian cotton agronomy research literature was completed.
What did the research involve?
A report was compiled using the Global Reporting Initiative for Sustainability Reporting Framework using economic, environmental and social indicators. In preparing the report, the Australian Cotton Industry considered more than 100 sustainability indicators and consulted stakeholders to report on 45 aspects of sustainability.
What were the key findings?
The analysis found that agronomy has increased cotton yield productivity from 1200 to 2270 kg/ha between the 1970s and 2014. Cotton fibre length productivity has increased 97 percent. Water productivity, measured using the Gross Production Water Use Index has improved from 0.79 to 1.14 bales/ML over the last decade. In terms of a diversity, landscape data shows crop rotations with legume and cereal crops have increased. Land use data shows cotton farm diversity in Australia is on average 14% cotton, 29% other crops and 42 % is native vegetation.
The paper discusses how changes in agronomy practices are building a more sustainable landscape. Data and trends over the last 20 years in land management, water use efficiency, integrated pest management, transgenic crop traits, pesticide use, irrigation practices and farm landscape research will be presented.