2018 Finalists

ADAMA Chris Lehmann Trust Young Cotton Achiever of the Year Finalists

 Jake Cutcliffe, Moree

A recipient of the 2017 Gwydir Valley Cotton Growers Association Young Achiever Award, Moree-based agronomist Jake graduated from the University of New England with a Bachelor of Agribusiness (Marketing) and a Post-Graduate Degree in Agriculture (Cotton Production). Currently working for Auscott Ltd Moree, Jake plays an integral role in steering the company’s agronomic decisions and implementation in the Gwydir Valley. He strives towards delivering a profitable annual cropping program.


Sam Simons, Gunnedah

Based in the Namoi Valley with Agromax Consulting, Sam has a keen interest in trial work and extension for continual improvement and adoption of new varieties, products, irrigation efficiencies, tailored fertility programs and cutting-edge technology. Sam is also actively involved in an array of industry trials and works directly with growers to improve production performance. He is an active member of Crop Consultants Australia, attending professional development events and participating in member projects. Sam is passionate in helping ensure the Australian cotton industry is considered a world leader in long term sustainability.


William Back, Narrabri

William is an experienced agronomist who has recently taken on the role as manager of Auscott Ltd Narrabri’s significant farming operation. He is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the 9000-hectare cotton farm, enjoying the support of Auscott Ltd to pursue his desire to be at the forefront of cotton development. William has been involved in various on-farm programs that are making important contributions to the constant improvement and management of cotton, such as running trials in cooperation with other researchers and organisations.


Cotton Seed Distributors Researcher of the Year Award Finalists

 Robert Eveleigh, Wee Waa

With a Diploma of Applied Science in Agriculture from Hawkesbury Ag College under his belt, Robert enjoyed a career as an extension and development agronomist with Cotton Seed Distributors for 20 years. Before that he was a district agronomist with the Department of Agriculture. Robert’s passion and dedication to the Australian cotton industry is firm. He is the driving force behind Federation Farm, a not for profit community farm using treated effluent water to irrigate cotton along with a variety of other crops. Robert has also acted as a mentor to trainee agronomists with the Department of Agriculture and young extension and development agronomists with CSD.


Dr Kristen Knight, Toowoomba

Having been with Monsanto since 2005, Dr Kristen Knight has been at the head of numerous activities contributing to the cotton industry. She leads Monsanto’s ongoing resistance monitoring program, working to develop an understanding of the field performance of Bollgard technologies. Kristen also leads the local development of Bollgard 3, including development and scientific positioning of the Bollgard 3 Resistance Management Plan and collection of regulatory field data for the Bollgard 3 submission. Kristen’s work has led to the revised RMP which will continue to protect Australian cotton from the threat of insect resistance.


Dr Joseph Foley, Dr Allsion McCarthy and Dr Malcolm Gillies, Toowoomba

The University of Southern Queensland’s National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture smart automated irrigation team is made up of Dr Joseph Foley, Dr Allison McCarthy and Dr Malcolm Gillies. The team’s most recent work has drawn upon many technological developments in irrigation management, measurement, and control for application in cotton irrigation systems. The team has brought engineering expertise and knowledge to the cotton industry in a number of areas, such as in-field irrigation and water management skills, as well as software and instrumentation development for irrigation improvement.


Monsanto Grower of the Year and AgriRisk High Achiever of the Year Finalists

 Bernie Bierhoff for Avondale Ag, “Avondale” Rowena, NSW

Having managed Avondale Ag for more than a decade, Bernie Bierhoff knows his way around a cotton farm. A family owned and run business, Avondale Ag is fully irrigated with flood irrigation on its irrigation country. The procedures that Bernie has put into place on the property ensures that water can be moved around cost effectively and efficiently, which in turn helps the business achieve consistent yields. Bernie is actively involved in his local community, in the thick of fundraising efforts for the local school through Avondale Ag as well as working closely with the Walgett Cotton Growers Association. Bernie is committed to farming for the future, looking after the soils for the next generation.


Greg and Maryann Bender, Burradoo Enterprises Pty Ltd, “Burradoo Plains” Chinchilla, QLD

Greg and Maryann Bender run Burradoo Enterprises Pty Ltd, just out of Chinchilla, QLD. Their area to cotton for the 2016/2017 season was 300 hectares, of which 240 is irrigated and the balance dryland. Greg and Maryann’s operation is unique as most of their water is coal seam gas water, and the delivery of the water is complex as it is being pumped four times before it reaches its final point. The family-run business employs overseas workers through an international rural farming exchange program, and was the recipient of the Darling Downs Cotton Growers Association Award for the 2017 cotton season. Greg and Maryann look forward to the future where they may further implement the processes they have already put in place.


Brett Corish, Corish Management Pty Ltd, “Mundine” Goondiwindi, QLD

Brett grew up on a farm in Queensland, which he today farms. The property is approximately 10,000 hectares in size, comprised of 2000 hectares of developed country, 2500 hectares of dryland farming and the balance grazing and bushland. Brett planted 800 hectares of fully irrigated cotton for the 2016-2017 season, seeing an average yield of 12.8 bales to the hectare. Mundine’s water allocation comes solely from the nearby Macintyre River, and it implements several different types of irrigation systems. Brett is passionate about ensuring that the business is sustainable moving forward, so that it may be able to be passed on to future generations.


Peter Lennox for Morcot Farms Pty Ltd, “Battery Hill” Gunnedah, NSW

Peter manages two and a half thousand acres near Gunnedah, NSW. In recent years, he has grown approximately 300 hectares of cotton on the property, yielding ten bales to the hectare. The irrigation on farm is primarily flood, with 78.8 hectares under pivot irrigation. Peter is able to water the entirety of his planted cotton over seven days, getting water to the crop quickly and as it needs it. Over the past couple of years Peter has achieved myBMP, and follows strict strategies to productively utilise all infrastructure available.


Glen and Narelle Whittaker, GS & NM Whittaker, “Wingfield” Warren, NSW

Glen runs a cotton operation just outside of Warren, NSW. He grows 400-600 hectares of cotton each year on the farm, which is fully set up for furrow irrigation. Glen’s career has been cotton industry focused, he is passionate about managing his crops at ground level and planning effectively for the future. He enjoys the constant challenges as well as the supportive nature of the industry, and has been involved in much water politics over the course of his farming career. Glen is driven in improving water efficiency in cotton farming, and is an active, well-known member of his local community.

Celebrating the Stars of our Industry