The Australian cotton industry is one of the most innovative in the world.  Its transformation has been underpinned by significant investment in research and development and a culture of innovation amongst farmers who are quick to take up new technology to drive performance, profitability and efficiencies.  The average Australian cotton farm is using many technologies to grow and harvest the crop - from in-field water meters linked to water use efficiency software, drones to check crops, solar-powered pump sites and even robots that can selectively spray individual weeds in a field.

Research and Development Drives Innovation

The Australian cotton industry has a strong research and development culture and this has contributed to its success as a modern agricultural industry. The Cotton Research and Development Corporation (CRDC) invests around $25 million per year in cotton research, development and extension. Growers pay a compulsory R&D levy on every bale of cotton they produce, with matching funding provided by the Australian Government.

Three of the Australian cotton industry's greatest success stories - world-leading yields, water use efficiency gains and massive pesticide use reduction – are underpinned by world class R&D, and the successes do not stop there.

Research is currently being conducted across the full scope of cotton production including the supply chain: traceability, performance, textile waste, plant pathology, biosecurity, insects and weeds, spray application, insecticides, GM stewardship, energy use, nutrition and water use efficiency. There is work constantly underway to make cotton more productive and profitable for Australian cotton growers, while continuously improving its environmental sustainability. 

The 2018-23 CRDC Strategic Plan includes the following key focus areas:

  • Optimised farming systems
  • Transformative technologies
  • Protection from biotic threats and environmental stresses
  • Sustainability of cotton farming
  • Creating higher value uses for cotton
  • Science and innovation capability, and new knowledge
  • Futures thinking

More Information:

The Australian cotton industry is keen to collaborate with the cotton supply chain around its R&D priorities.  For more information on the Australian cotton industry's research and development please visit

Get Involved

Cotton Australia has formed a number of authentic partnerships with retailers, brands, manufacturers and supply chain partners who share the industry's values. If your organisation believes in reducing environmental footprint, the fair and safe treatment of workers, quality product and supply chain traceability - then we may be in business.

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