Cotton growers from across the region united at Pine Ridge on Thursday for the National Cotton Grower of the Year Field Day.
The event was hosted by Monsanto Grower Of The Year recipients Ian, Marilyn and Harry Carter at their property, Connamara.
The Carter’s 2500ha family property on the black soil of the Liverpool Plains was recognised for its innovative approaches including no-till farming to conserve soil moisture and water injection at planting to boost yields when conditions are less favourable.
Ian was thrilled to be acknowledged.
“It’s really satisfying to be recognised by your peers, it’s been a great experience,” Mr Carter said.
But humbly, he credited much of their success to the wider cotton industry.
“Cotton is great industry, it’s expanding rapidly and everyone is willing to pitch in and help,” he said.
Also attending the field day was Deputy Prime Minister, Member for New England and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce.
"It’s really satisfying to be recognised by your peers... it’s been a great experience."Ian Carter, Pine Ridge, National Cotton Grower of the Year
He talked briefly about his time involved with cotton as a banker in Queensland and his desire to maintain rural links at Canberra.
“We need to keep agriculture right in the centre of government,” Mr Joyce said.
Ian’s wife Marilyn said the cotton industry is “full of progressive growers”, each as enthusiastic as the next to develop new ways of working.
She thought the grower of the year recognition would help “reinforce the value of the asset”.
She was also looking forward to their son Harry carry on the family farm in the future.
“He’s very keen, capable and committed,” she said.
Another of the Carter’s innovations designed to help offset the cost of loading cotton is the “pick lift”.
Discouraged by the exorbitant rates charged to move cotton from paddock to trucks, the Carters built their own self-styled machinery – a hybrid of a conventional cotton picker and a forklift.
Mr Carter said their business ethos is to make the best with what they have. “We try and make it as profitable as we can,” he said.