Media release. Matt McVeigh. 2015 Scholarship winner
Matt McVeigh, from Dalby in Queensland, has been awarded a prestigious Nuffield Scholarship supported by Cotton Australia and the Cotton Research and Development Corporation.
He will research methods of improving the quality of Australian cotton.
Matt works in his family business, which consists of approximately 6000 hectares of irrigated and dryland cropping and is a mixture of owned, leased and share-farmed country. The main income comes from cotton, closely followed by sorghum – wheat, barley, chickpeas and corn are also part of the cropping rotation.
Matt manages the southern section of the business on a day-to-day basis, which involves one main and four smaller farms with two staff. He has a key role in the overall business during peak periods such as harvest, planting and cotton picking and also in agronomic decisions, planning the year ahead and through financial decisions and meetings.
With the quality of cotton potentially being impacted by factors from seedling emergence through to the spinning mill, it’s an area Matt sees as being critically important.
“I’m going to research cotton quality and what the end user requires, particularly in regards to length and colour, which can cost a producer a great amount of money in a short period of time.
Agronomic and weather related issues such as row spacing, climate, defoliation, picking and packaging also all relate to quality and I would love to be able to compare different countries to Australia to see how we could improve on this,” he says.
Matt says market forces are also at play, with the main importer of Australian cotton, China, beginning to push for better quality at the same price.
“However, the upside of providing a higher quality product for sale while also maintaining the consistency of the fibre may be greater profits for farmers,” he explains.
Matt will visit China, Korea, India, Brazil, Argentina, Egypt and the USA.
Cotton Australia CEO, Adam Kay, says: “The success of Australia’s cotton industry is due in great part to its commitment to innovation, and the Nuffield scholarship program plays a key role in that process.”
Matt will be a fantastic ambassador for our cotton industry overseas, and Cotton Australia and the CRDC congratulate him on achieving a Nuffield scholarship,” he says.
Cotton Research and Development Corporation Executive Director, Bruce Finney, added: “Nuffield’s scholarship program allows innovative growers to learn advanced farming methods from around the world and bring those techniques back so Australian farmers can apply them.
In this way, Nuffield contributes to the cotton industry’s progress in key areas such as water and chemical efficiency, on-farm management and better environmental outcomes,” he concluded.
Nuffield Australia is an organisation which provides an opportunity to Australian farmers to travel overseas on an agricultural research scholarship. It is a 16-week program consisting of both group and individual travel. The next groups will be travelling through New Zealand, Brazil, USA, Mexico, the UK, South Africa, Kenya and Europe in March-April 2015.
Matt is available for interviews to talk about his planned study.
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