Auscott Limited chief executive and managing director Harvey Gaynor told growers at last week’s Australian Farm Institute agtech conference that early stages of the technology were being used in the field, but more was to come “Things such as where the cotton module was made, when it was made, the weight of that module and the moisture level, and even some quality characteristics can be measured in the field or on the picker,” Mr Gaynor said “If we can start to then segregate the cotton — because it does vary between colour grades throughout the field — and then gin and supply it, it not only makes for a more ­efficient supply chain but probably a higher value product at the other end. “That’s the start of that product’s digital identity “There’s a strong package of information that can be transferred through the supply chain.†He said the three “themes” present in agtech discussions around the world were cost, quality and provenance “Cotton is a fibre and we’re competing with synthetics — with polyester — and it’s ­always at a lower cost than cotton, and consistent barrel after barrel,” Mr Gaynor said “If information can be captured earlier and transmitted earlier through to the market, I think we’ve got better product and more able to compete with synthetics on price.†In the process of achieving this goal, the industry has ­developed more automation and robotics. “There’s a lot of people through Asia and the subcontinent looking for cotton at a specific price and at the right time,” Mr Gaynor said “As a producer, it’s hard not to imagine a future where I’ll have an app on my phone or on my computer that’s connecting millions of growers with demand from a mill in Asia somewhere allowing them to get their product to the mill as fast as they can.”. In the coming years, he ­believes growers will also have access to online payment and financing systems, replacing the inefficient letters of credit used for processes such as freight Since the “Target Egyptian cotton scandal” in the US — where an Indian supplier to Target was found to be swapping the cotton for inferior grades — Mr Gaynor said providing provenance assurances had become a requirement of cotton production “The customer is asking questions — where did this shirt come from. Where is the cotton from. And how was it grown. How was it processed and produced.” Mr Gaynor said. “Australian growers are able to satisfy that need, but the consumer out the other end needs to know that’s what they’re getting.”


Source:The Daily Star