Case study: Rob Houghton 


Whitton cotton grower Rob Houghton believes cotton came to the region at a good time following the Millennium drought.

Rob Houghton

Whitton cotton grower

While remote automation is currently delivering significant lifestyle and environmental benefits for irrigators, the Whitton grower believes new technology will never replace the value of face-toface interactions with fellow farmers to improve and expand the industry.

A third-generation farmer, Rob Houghton, is enjoying uninterrupted sleep for the first time in years. For Rob, the demands of continuous siphon irrigation has been like having a newborn in the house. Now, this time-consuming, manual task is completely automated.

"The automation system allows me to irrigate my crops while away from the property or when I am asleep in bed. It means I can focus my energy on planning and management. I am typical of all farmers, we're always searching for a better way - that's our job," Rob said.

According to Rob, who first planted cotton in 2011 when the industry was in its infancy in southern NSW, the crop came at a good time following the Millennium Drought. It provided a highvalue crop alternative for many growers in the region.

During this time, Rob was appointed as chair of the Irrigation Research and Extension Committee (IREC). He took up the role because he recognised the importance of providing face-toface opportunities for farmers to share knowledge and generate new ideas.

"There will always be a need for faceto-face get-togethers between business owners, where we mull over ideas and learn from each other - on bus trips, fields days, forums, and at the IREC Field Station, where new technology is demonstrated," said Rob.

Southern Cotton is a major sponsor of IREC. It has been a successful partnership because of the value placed on research and development to progress the cotton industry with a view to improving its competitive edge on the world stage.

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