State Government to invest $500 000 at Narrabri Research Institute

The NSW Government has announced $500 000 for future upgrades at the Australian Cotton Research Institute.

The upgrades are part of more than $21 million in capital works planned for the Department of Primary Industries, through the 2006/07 State Budget.

The Australian Cotton Research Institute is one of Department’s 11 Centres of Excellence and is well regarded for its cutting-edge work to support the State’s cotton industry, which has a farm-gate value of $1.3 billion.

The Institute also has a strong reputation for developing breakthroughs in integrated pest management and rotation crops such soybean, grain legumes and wheat.

The $500 000 investment earmarked for this Institute will help fund the construction of new laboratory facilities that support soil and environmental science efforts.

This builds on an initial $150 000 investment last year, which helped refurbish laboratories.

The upgrades are part of the Government’s Towards 2020 re-investment initiative, designed to improve the overall science and research capacity within the Department of Primary Industries.

NSW cotton production in 1975 was 110 000 bales. In 2001 the industry saw a record production 3.4m bales.

As a result of this growth, environmental research in water, soil and biological management techniques have become increasingly important.

Currently much of this work is carried out in old shed facilities. Funding from the State Government will help scientists and research technicians overcome current limitations of their work environment – and lead to better, faster results for our industries.

It is anticipated that work on the new laboratory will begin in November and work is expected to be completed in April 2007.

The NSW Government has invested an estimated $1.6 million in the Narrabri centre in recent years. This includes a new insectary completed in 2003, new pathology and breeding laboratories in 2000, and other upgrades in 1999.

The NSW cotton industry generates $1 billion in export revenue annually and underpins the viability of many rural communities.

Approximately two-thirds of Australia’s cotton is grown in NSW, with the remainder produced in Queensland. The State’s industry is made up of approximately 700 cotton farmers in NSW.

Key production areas in NSW include Border Rivers, Gwydir, Namoi, Macquarie, Lachlan, and the Murrumbidgee.