Good news for Central Highlands cotton
TRUCKS loaded with cotton modules have already been rolling into the local gins.
Heat has pushed some growers across the Central Highlands to begin their harvest early this year.
Local grower Graham Volck harvested last week and said he was pleased with his yield.
"Things have started off very well," he said.
"As the cotton is coming out of the ground, the colour looks great."
Mr Volck said it was a busy and exciting time.
"We spend the whole year preparing for this," he said.
"The cotton spends six months in the ground and then it disappears in a few days.
"It's like waiting on exam results!"
Mr Volck harvested about 11 bales a hectare, which stacked up well compared to other years.
"This year is certainly above average," he said.
THIS year the heat provided the biggest challenge, Mr Volck said.
"We really had to keep the water up to the cotton on high heat days," he said.
But he was confident his hard work would pay dividends.
"It's a good price this year," he said.
"It's a nice time to be selling... I am one happy farmer."
Cotton Australia regional manager Renee Anderson said other growers who had already started picking were also happy.
"The conditions have been optimal this season," she said, adding the region had 48 growers.
"This season we have had 2200 hectares planted within a permit period, which has allowed growers to plant one week earlier than the usual planting window in central Queensland," she said.
"This has proven to be a fantastic choice this year, as it allowed the fruit setting period to occur prior to those really hot temperatures."
Ms Anderson said heat was a widespread challenge for local growers.
"We had a lot of really high temperatures on consecutive days," she said.
She said the effects of the heat would depend on when the cotton was planted and would be known after the cotton was ginned.
Growers had benefited from reduced insects, Ms Anderson added.
"Insect pressure had been relatively low this season, in comparison to previous years," she said.
"There has been minimal insecticide used this year."