By admin       2018-11-27

Cotton farmers are making most of their situation despite low rainfall impacting how much they can grow in some parts of New South Wales.According to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) September Australian crop report the area planted to cotton is forecast to fall by almost 50 per cent to 161,000 hectares in 2018–19.Due to below average rainfall during the first eight months of the years, soil moisture levels are very low due, which is expected to limit planting to irrigated areas.Cotton production in NSW is forecast to decline by 44 per cent in 2018–19 to 389,000 tonnes of cotton lint and around 550,000 tonnes of cottonseed.Cotton Australia general manager Michael Murray said at this stage, it is forecast that at least half the area of cotton that was planted last year will be sown this season in the state.“In New South Wales, it is forecast 1.5 million bales of cotton will be produced, compared to the 3.2 million bales that was produced in the state last year,” he said.“However, with good rain in many areas over recent days, we are confident that there will be an increase in plantings of rain-fed crops.”Like so many farmers in New South Wales, the drought has impacted all cotton growers in the state, Mr Murray said.“Water allocations have been significantly down across our valleys, which impacts how much irrigated crop can be grown,” he said.“Likewise, with not much rain falling across the state, our dryland growers are limited by how much cotton they can viably grow too.“Despite these factors, our growers are making the most of the situation and conditions, and are planting their cotton crop on their best fallow fields to ensure strong yields and a high quality crop is grown.”Mr Murray said Australian cotton growers are resilient, innovative and efficient farmers.“Of course, conditions could be a lot better than they are, but our growers are used to having to work in tough conditions and are making the best of the situation,” he said.“While the forecast area of cotton planted is down on last year, our growers are making smart, strategic decisions around where they plant their crop to ensure strong yields and high quality cotton is produced.“It’s during times like these that our industry’s hard work in improving its sustainability and efficiency to grow more crop per drop really pays off.”The reduced cotton is similar across all cotton growing valleys.“At this stage the Macquarie is forecast to have a reduction in area of cotton grown this season compared to last season,” Mr Murray said.“Current forecasts indicate 175,000 bales of cotton will be produced in the Macquarie this season.“In general, Macquarie cotton growers had excellent yields last season, but it is too early in this season to speculate on yield.”

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