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Luke McKay – 2018 Nuffield Scholar

Luke McKay from Kununurra, Western Australia, receives a Scholarship supported by Cotton Australia and the Cotton Research and Development Corporation (CRDC).

Luke’s research will focus on issues relevant to tropical cotton-growing systems such as planning and decision processes affecting crop management, biosecurity and area wide management, and considerations for best management practice in Northern Australia.

Luke is farm manager at Kimberley Agricultural Investment (KAI), where he oversees all KAI’s cropping throughout the Ord River valley, north of Kununurra.

KAI were named as the preferred proponent for the Ord expansion in 2012, which has inspired Luke’s interest in further exploring the cropping and irrigation systems best suited to the area. This will focus on finding ways to adjust current systems to allow for cotton production.

“KAI and other Ord farmers are not alone in their ambitions to develop irrigated farming in Northern Australia. Outside the Ord Valley, there are currently operations being undertaken to develop and farm large areas in the Flinders and Gilbert catchments of North Queensland, with cotton in mind to be the base crop,” Luke said. “2019 has seen the commencement of trials in the Northern Territory as well.”

“We are confident the cotton industry will grow and be profitable in the North, but on my study tour I want to research the best systems to achieve this.”

On his study tour, Luke will travel to Brazil, Zambia, China and USA, as well as locally to North Queensland, to learn from other growers in similar farming conditions.

Phone: 0488 733 358

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