Cotton growers from North West NSW and Darling Downs, Queensland have been recognised at the 2018 Australian Cotton Industry Awards.
Growers from the border region took out four of the five award categories.
Brett Corish from Corish Management Pty Ltd, ‘Mundine’, Goondiwindi was the winner of the Monsanto Cotton Grower of the Year; David Montgomery from Moree received the IPF Service to Industry Award; Bernie Bierhoff, farm manager for Avondale Ag at Rowena was named the AgriRisk High Achiever of the Year; and William Back, farm manager at Auscott Ltd, Narrabri, received the ADAMA Chris Lehmann Trust Young Cotton Achiever of the Year award.
Meanwhile Dr Joseph Foley, Dr Malcolm Gillies and Dr Alison McCarthy from the University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, took out the Cotton Seed Distributors Researcher of the Year award.
The awards were presented before more than 1,000 cotton growers and industry representatives who gathered to celebrate the recipients at a ceremony held on the Gold Coast on Thursday, August 9.
Cotton Australia CEO Adam Kay says each of the award recipients excelled in their field.
“The one thing all the recipients have in common is that they are constantly testing the boundaries of what can be achieved in their respective fields,” he said.
“Whether it’s making improvements to sustainability and water efficiency on farm, delivering crucial new research to farmers, making outstanding contributions to industry or leading the next generation of cotton growers - they’re all making significant advancements.
“The Australian Cotton Industry Awards are an important way of showcasing those who are achieving great things, and also a way of discovering new ambassadors for the industry.
“It was an extremely strong field of finalists and I congratulate them all.”
Mr Kay said the Awards dinner was a huge success, bringing together growers and industry representatives from all corners of Australia’s cotton-growing valleys.
Sponsors of this year’s Awards were Monsanto, AgriRisk, ADAMA, Cotton Seed Distributors and IPF.
Monsanto Grower of the Year
Brett Corish, Corish Management Pty Ltd, “Mundine” Goondiwindi, QLD
Brett Corish is an innovative cotton grower who is committed to farming for the future. Since taking charge of “Mundine” Brett has implemented changes to improve water efficiency and yields.
He is inventive in his approach to overcoming challenges on farm and his extensive involvement in research trials and industry bodies enables him to remain at the forefront of new technologies.
Brett has directed the transition from siphon to bankless irrigation which has so far achieved water savings of five to 10 percent while also increasing yields by a similar margin.
His well-developed farm management, with a strong focus on monitoring performance and setting benchmarks, has resulted in a prolonged period of high yields.
From water boards to coach of the junior rugby team, Brett’s community involvement is extensive. His community work has also included time with Cotton Growers’ Association, field day committees and Border River Food and Fibre.
AgriRisk High Achiever of the Year
Bernie Bierhoff for Avondale Ag, “Avondale” Rowena, NSW
Bernie Bierhoff has shown a strong commitment to progressive farming strategies, conserving water and supporting the local community.
After more than 16 years in the position as farm manager, he has left an indelible mark on the family-owned business by achieving significant improvements in crop and soil management.
Having more irrigable land than water available has lead Bernie to improve water efficiency over the years.
He has developed a system that is beneficial for both the property and the environment.
Bernie responds to the challenges of managing such a vast area of land by maintaining flexibility in his approach.
His tireless contribution to the wider industry has helped inform his holistic farming approach.
Bernie is actively involved in his local community, contributing to fundraising efforts for the local school and also working closely with the Walgett Cotton Growers’ Association.
ADAMA Chris Lehmann Trust Young Cotton Achiever of the Year
William Back, Auscott Ltd, Narrabri
William is an experienced agronomist who has recently taken on the role of manager of Auscott Ltd Narrabri’s significant farming operation.
He is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the 9000-hectare cotton farm, enjoying the support of Auscott Ltd to pursue his desire to be at the forefront of cotton development.
William has been involved in on-farm programs that are making important contributions to the constant improvement and management of cotton, such as running trials in cooperation with other researchers and organisations.
IPF Service to Industry Award
David Montgomery, Moree, North West NSW
David Montgomery has provided exceptional service and shown significant commitment to the Australian Cotton Industry for decades.
He has grown cotton successfully across four different cotton regions including Emerald, Darling Downs, Gwydir and Murrumbidgee over a period of over 30 years.
David was also instrumental in establishing the Dunavant Ginning and marketing business in Australia, of which he was the CEO for many years.
In this role, he implemented marketing options such as forward contracts, which are all standard practice today.
His involvement in cotton industry bodies has been extensive and includes Chairman of the Australian Cotton Shippers Association, Cotton Australia Director, Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Australian Cotton Industry Council (ACIC), and CEO of Dunavant Australia, subsidiary of the world’s largest cotton trading company.
David’s contribution is driven by a desire to achieve the greater good and he has dedicated over 50 years to the agricultural industry and over 30 years to the Australian cotton industry.
The cotton industry in Australia has been significantly and positively advanced through David’s involvement at all levels.