Celebrating Australia's Cotton Industry on World Cotton Day

Tony May, Head of Customer Marketing, Crop Science division Australia and New Zealand

Australia’s cotton farmers are wonderful conservationists. This fact might surprise those who are fed misinformation about this innovative, sustainable agricultural sector. On World Cotton Day, let’s embark on some myth busting up front and celebrate the cotton industry and the achievements of Australia’s cotton farmers.


Cotton is sustainable, renewable, and biodegradable, and an excellent choice as an environmentally friendly fibre right through its product life cycle. 


Australia’s cotton industry is internationally recognised as innovative, dynamic and hugely successful – due in part to the willingness of the industry to invest in world-class results and rapidly adopt the emerging science, innovations and technology. 


Bayer is proud to have invested in and partnered with Australia’s cotton industry, bringing programs and technology to market to support industry success. The introduction of biotechnology into the cotton industry in 1996 - through Bayer’s Bollgard (Ingard) technology – dramatically helped reduce the volume of insecticide applied to Australian cotton crops. 


It is estimated the industry has conducted 31.9 million fewer insecticide spray runs, saving 26.8 million litres of fuel and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 71.5 million kgs of CO21.


This story is further reinforced by the remarkable progress growers have made in relation to improvements in Water Use Efficiency (WUE).


Growers have embraced technology and further research and development, redesigned water channels and invested in other capital works to optimise irrigation systems. Combined, this doubled water efficiency over a decade. 


Australia grows three times the world average yield per hectare2. This is something we can all be proud of.


Growers have embraced the world’s best cotton management practices, drawing on Australia’s myBMP program. Bayer is proud to continue to support Cotton Australia’s initiative.


But the industry is not resting on its laurels. It simply can’t. It must adapt to compete with other crops and commodities, stay ahead of seasonal volatility and climate change, while meeting consumer expectations. 


This is a challenge Bayer wishes to embrace, alongside the industry. 


Bayer recently launched its WUE Grant to myBMP certified growers alongside next-generation Agtech partner Goanna Ag.  The program draws on Goanna’s GoField® Plus technology, using field data and analytics to help growers optimise irrigation scheduling, further advancing farming practices. 


Bayer believes every investment in innovation should also be an investment in sustainability. Our success is built around providing farmers with the best tools and solutions so they can achieve harvests using less water, land and energy. 


We’re committed to the future of Australian cotton, and have a robust pipeline of traits and crop protection products that will help growers manage weed and insect pests into the future. We will continue to partner with the Australian cotton industry to deliver these important innovations to support industry productivity and profitability. 



1Brookes G, PG Economics, Adoption and Impact of Genetically Modified (GM) Crops In Australia: 20 Years’ Experience, p.2 https://www.croplife.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/CL_20-YearsGM_Lores.pdf

2Fact sheet, Australian Cotton – Our Water Story, Cotton Australia, p.2 https://cottonaustralia.com.au/assets/general/Publications/Industry-overview-brochures/The-Australian-Cotton-Water-Story.pdf