Weather puts dampener on cotton

Work is in full swing at the Emerald cotton gin as the Central Highlands harvest winds down.
Work is in full swing at the Emerald cotton gin as the Central Highlands harvest winds down.

WITH 95% of the Central Highlands cotton harvest picked, most growers are feeling the ill effects of badly timed rain yet again.

Cotton's resurgence continues on a national level, but the season for local growers could not be described as any more than average, which will disappoint many due to the potential shown early on.

"The March rain caused a fair few problems," Queensland Cotton's Rick Jones said.

"The stuff that came off before that was fine, but anything after March would have got some downgrades. There were a high number of bales, but you couldn't say it was an ideal season for growers.

"Some of the downgrades are up to $100 per bale, which is very significant amount, about a 20% loss."

Central Highlands Cotton Growers' and Irrigators Association president Ross Burnett said despite the disappointment for the third season in a row, growers were standing strong.

"It's been another season where growers have had to deal with the elements," Mr Burnett said.

"There were some good crops but they were certainly not the majority. It's been tough but there is still lots of opportunity and potential for cotton in the region, especially with the amount of water available."

Mr Burnett said there had been plenty of discussion among growers about what winter crops could be grown to generate some much needed cash flow.

"Some guys are planting wheat and chickpeas now on land that had cotton on it over summer," he said.

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