Cot­ton award win­ner

The Northern Star - Northern New South Wales Rural Weekly - - NEWS - Kir­ili Lamb Kir­ili.Lamb@ru­ral­weekly.com.au

WILLAM Back dis­cov­ered a pas­sion for the cot­ton in­dus­try dur­ing a place­ment as a Univer­sity of Queens­land agri­cul­tural science hon­ours stu­dent.

At age 33, he has been pro­moted from an ini­tial role as agron­o­mist to farm man­ager of Aus­cott’s 9000-hectare cot­ton op­er­a­tion at Narrabri, and will shortly trans­fer to man­age an­other ma­jor Aus­cott op­er­a­tion, Co­bran, in Hay.

He has been nom­i­nated as a fi­nal­ist in the 2018 Cot­ton In­dus­try Awards, in the Young Cot­ton Achiever of the Year cat­e­gory.

He said cot­ton had ap­pealed to him be­cause of an in­ter­sec­tion be­tween a crop that re­sponded to ac­tive man­age­ment and the op­por­tu­ni­ties pre­sented by the in­dus­try it­self.

“The scale was im­pres­sive. It’s ex­cit­ing how the re­search has im­proved the qual­ity and the yield of that crop,” he said.

“Cot­ton crops re­spond very well to good man­age­ment.

It’s a very in­volved and in­ten­sive in­dus­try, and there are op­por­tu­ni­ties for peo­ple who are in­ter­ested and have a back­ground in science to ap­ply what they have learned.”

Wil­liam sees a strong fu­ture for the in­dus­try as it de­vel­ops new va­ri­eties that al­low the crop’s ge­o­graphic range to ex­tend south­ward, east­ward, and in north­ern Aus­tralia.

“In­creas­ing that vol­ume is good for the Aus­tralian in­dus­try, be­cause on the world scene, we don’t pro­duce enough cot­ton,” he said.

“So that’s where the va­ri­eties are giv­ing more adapt­abil­ity to suit more cli­mates and soil types, and the in­dus­try is very proac­tive at sup­port­ing and pro­mot­ing that growth.”

“It’s very ex­cit­ing to be a fi­nal­ist. It’s very hum­bling to have been nom­i­nated, and then also to make it through to be a fi­nal­ist. It’s a great chance to par­tic­i­pate in the in­dus­try, through the awards process.”

Wil­liam shares his fi­nal­ist po­si­tion with Jake Cut­cliffe, of Aus­cott’s Moree op­er­a­tion, and Sam Simons, from Agro­max Con­sult­ing in the Namoi Val­ley.

The Cot­ton In­dus­try Awards, also in­clud­ing Grower of the Year, High Achiever of the Year and Re­searcher of the Year, will be an­nounced in Au­gust as part of the 2018 Aus­tralian Cot­ton Con­fer­ence on the Gold Coast.

PHOTO: ME­LANIE JENSON

YOUNG ACHIEVER: Farm man­ager Wil­liam Back is one of three fi­nal­ists in the 2018 Cot­ton In­dus­try Awards Young Cot­ton Achiever of the Year cat­e­gory.

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