Come celebrate cotton industry successes at 'Cotton tales'

21 February 2018


White fluffy bolls of cotton grow across eastern Australia, making us a top cotton producer and the world's third largest exporter of cotton behind the USA and India. Discover more about this Australian success story at the 2018 RD Watt Lecture 'Cotton tales: celebrating success in Australia' on 8 March.

From the first cotton seeds brought to Australia on the First Fleet in 1788, the cotton industry has blossomed into the extraordinarily successful agri-industry that it is today, with Australian cotton held in the highest regard internationally.

While we all use cotton products every day - from clothing to homewares, and from soaps to pharmaceuticals - many of us don't know much about this Australian success story.

Learn more about cotton industry successes from three leaders in the cotton industry, who are also University of Sydney alumni:

  • David Anthony, Chair, Auscott Limited, Director, Plant Biosecurity CRC, speaking about the history and development of the Australian cotton industry
  • Dr Greg Constable, Post Retirement Fellow, CSIRO, speaking about research achievements in the Australian cotton industry
  • Adam Kay, CEO, Cotton Australia, speaking about the future and commercial direction of the Australian cotton industry.

"Our Australian cotton industry really took off in the 1950s and 1960s, helped by Australia's increased cotton research, improved irrigation, improved marketing, mechanisation, and the model used in the cotton industry of private industry supported by government," said David Anthony, Chair of Auscott Limited, and Director of the Plant Biosecurity CRC.

Dr Greg Constable, Post Retirement Fellow at CSIRO who has spent over 40 years in cotton research, said, "There has been a large and successful cotton research effort over the past 45 years. All aspects have been covered in the research, with particular focus on developing a successful and sustainable industry for the long term."

"In the interest of time, my talk will focus on soil management, pest management and plant breeding to highlight major outcomes. Science has developed increased yield and fibre quality, with improved water use efficiency and a smaller environmental footprint," explained Dr Constable.

Adam Kay, CEO of Cotton Australia, reveals the future of Australian cotton, "The digital agriculture revolution is going to have a huge impact on cotton, where we'll have individual pieces of data on plants and fields, resulting in better management decisions for farmers. This is going to be huge for agriculture."

"Global brands want to use Australian cotton for its high quality, sustainability and traceability of production. These factors create a strong demand for Australian cotton and are driven by the excellent scientific research conducted here," said Mr Kay.

Plant biologist and member of the University of Sydney Institute of Agriculture, Dr Kim-yen Phan-thien, will host the event.

Professor Alex McBratney, Director of the University of Sydney Institute of Agriculture, said, "This is a celebration of the extraordinarily successful cotton industry in Australia, which is the best example of the success that comes when scientific research and industry come together in agriculture."

The speakers will be followed by a Q&A panel hosted by Emeritus Professor Les Copeland, Board member of the federal government's Cotton Research and Development Corporation.

Drinks and canapes will be served after the speakers to continue the celebration.

Annual RD Watt lecture

The annual RD Watt Lecture commemorates the first lecture delivered to University of Sydney agriculture students in March 1911 by Professor Robert Dickie Watt, Australia's first Professor and Dean of Agriculture.

Event details:

Date: Thursday 8 March 2018
Time: 6pm-8.15pm
Location: Great Hall, University of Sydney

Drinks and canap├ęs following lecture.

RSVP Please RSVP online - registration is essential for venue and catering purposes.


Contact: Katynna Parry

Phone: (02) 9351 6997

Email: 211b002a1c292b183e4e032149064721231e160f18021c01690618