The Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA) has opened its largest single funding round calling for new ideas to grow the North’s cotton, grain and cattle sector.

The multimillion-dollar open funding call is seeking project proposals to develop an integrated agricultural system, bolstering productivity across the cropping and cattle sectors of northern Western Australia (Kununurra) and the Northern Territory (Katherine and Douglas Daly), and northern Queensland.

CRCNA CEO Anne Stünzner said the emergence of a cotton industry in Northern Australia was an evolution of existing irrigated annual and dryland cropping and provided opportunities for a new way of approaching agricultural systems.

“Our ‘Cotton, Grains and Cattle’ (CGC) Program aims to maximise the productivity of cropping and beef production farming systems, with consideration for the highest-best-use of water and land resources in a long-term, sustainable way.

“We’ve turned to industry to help us identify where the market-driven opportunities are to deliver significant local and regional economic outcomes, with community, animal welfare and environmental benefits,” she said.

Following extensive consultation with producers, industry groups, research development corporations and government bodies in Western Australia and the Northern Territory, the CRCNA’s EOI is focused on four key themes. These include looking at sustainable, adaptable cropping systems, enhanced cattle production systems enabled by cropping, workforce and skills development and improving water use and quality and environmental compliance.

Ms Stünzner said it was important proponents seeking funding considered applying research activities across the identified regions, with a northern Queensland project EOI expected in coming weeks.

“We are looking for project ideas which cut-across regions and sectors to deliver integrated solutions which grow the sector and economic opportunities across the north,” Ms Stünzner said.

The CRCNA’s latest EOI is the organisation’s largest single funding round to date – highlighting the importance of this work to the broader developing Northern Australia agenda.

“We are enabling the economic development of Northern Australia by opening new collaborations and bringing people and ideas together.

“Our work is about realising the opportunity these emerging food and fibre production industries will deliver to the broader community, especially to our First Nations partners who we will work with on the delivery of this RD&E and whose lands we will be working across,” Ms Stünzner said.

The CRCNA’s CGC work will be complemented by other research investment in health service delivery, supply chains, water security and activating the Indigenous Estate, with more than $17million earmarked for new project collaborations in 2022/23.

Expressions of interest for the CGC work are open until 5pm AWST Friday 8 April, with all submissions to be made via the online form available here.

For more information about this EOI, please refer to our CGC EOI overview document.

Media enquiries

Carla Keith, CRCNA General Manager | 0499 330 051