Good times for cotton industry

Cotton Australia’s David Bone said cotton farmers were expecting a record harvest in coming weeks.
Cotton Australia’s David Bone said cotton farmers were expecting a record harvest in coming weeks.

IT will be a real case of mate helping mate when Australian farmers donate bales of freshly-harvested cotton to the recently announced Cotton Flood Fund – a Cotton Australia initiative designed to ensure flood-affected growers are given every opportunity at replanting later this year.

Despite many Central Queensland growers suffering devastating losses due to recent flooding, the cotton industry is expected to bounce back with a record yield in coming weeks, with an estimated 3.7 million bales likely to be harvested, equating to about $2 billion worth of export income.

“We’re expecting to see about a 10% hit in overall yield caused by the Queensland floods,” Cotton Australia’s David Bone said.

“But we will only know the real extent after the upcoming harvest when we can better assess the entire situation.

“One of the recent issues raised was how we can help those affected by floods.

“A lot of growers who weren’t affected expressed an interest in helping out those who were, so we looked at how we could facilitate that.”

Mr Bone said cotton growers were being asked to support their fellow farmers by donating bales to the fund. Corporations who do business with the industry are also encouraged to contribute.

The Cotton Flood Fund will go towards planting costs for flood-affected farmers and is designed to ensure their long-term recovery and allow them to stay in the industry.

“While cotton is a crop with high returns, it is also a very expensive crop to plant,” Mr Bone said.

He said the record yield can be attributed to the combination of high international prices and good seasonal conditions which often occur, but not always at the same time.

In the Central Highlands region, warm and sunny conditions throughout January injected some real optimism into the season for struggling cotton growers. So much so, that many of the surviving crops that hung on through the floods are now expected to make a strong recovery.

Another positive is the minimal incidence of boll rot in the Emerald region this year, which has been a curse weighing heavy on growers shoulders for the past two seasons.

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