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Cotton Awards judging tour wrap up

By Paul Brady, Monsanto RBM

The 2016 judging tour is now complete, with the panel having the privilege of visiting an extremely strong field of finalists competing for the Monsanto Cotton Grower of the Year and the High Achiever Awards.

This year the judging panel, headed up by Geoff McIntyre, included last year’s award recipients Peter Tuohey, ‘Daisy Lodge’, and Tristram Hertslet, ‘Reardon Farms’. Long serving awards judge Deidre McCallum represented AgriRisk while Paul Brady flew the flag for Monsanto. Nigel Burnett, a Cotton Australia director, was also on hand while Sally Hunter from the Australian Cotton Industry Awards committee did a great job organising the week.

The trip started in the Upper Namoi Valley with Ian Carter, Connamara Partnership, and Scott Morgan, Tagmor Ag, making sure the benchmark was high from the outset. Next stop was Dalby where we spent the afternoon with Matt Waye and his team from Mort & Co. Brett Crothers, Breza Farming Co., and his family hosted us the next morning where we were treated to not only a farm tour but scones for morning tea, although you had to be quick with Brett’s and Liza’s five kids around.

From there we headed to the Gill family’s operation, Waterloo Partnership, and met up with Andrew and his family on their farm south of Narromine. Recorded rain of over 180mm in the previous five weeks meant we were restricted to the house yard but yet the Gill family were extremely accommodating with their time. Our last visit was to Griffith where we called on Tim and Roger Commins, Commins Enterprises, who proudly showed us around their diverse operation.

Common themes presented in each case – such as diversity, community and industry involvement, farm management practices and incorporated efficiencies – were all consistent among the nominees. As one of the judging panel members put it, “visiting farms like this makes you get excited about farming again”.

The winners will be announced at the Cotton Conference on the Gold Coast in August.