No water in sight as next season approaches

Crop forecast to drop a further 40pc in the coming season


Cropping
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Growers across all cotton regions are praying for rain as the season rapidly approaches.

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There's just days until the 2019-20 cotton season kicks off with planting in central Queensland and the industry is watching the weather, praying there won't be a repeat of last season.

Cotton Seed Distributors extension and development manager for Queensland Sam Lee said early seed orders from the central Queensland region were certainly down.

"It's only going to take the right rainfall event for things to turn around and we're well prepared for that," he said.

"We've seen this situation before where we've had a couple of dry seasons and when it does break, it's probably going to break pretty quick.

"We've set ourselves up for a full plant this season so we've got enough seed on the floor in Wee Waa at the CSD head office to cover a full planting season."

Mr Lee said a lot of growers have moisture deep down, but it's just a matter of getting the rainfall events.

"Particularly for dryland too, if they've been fallowed for a while, there's moisture down low, but it's a matter of getting enough rain to meet up and be able to plant something that will get down into that moisture," he said.

ABARES reported the Australian cotton industry produced 2.1 million bales in the 2018-19 season.

Cotton Australia CEO Adam Kay said the 2018-19 Australian cotton crop was less than half the size of the previous season, with ABARES forecasting a further 40pc drop in the coming season.

"The Australian cotton industry is preparing for another tough season," Mr Kay said.

"I expect any irrigated cotton produced in the 2019-20 season to be grown using ground water with most valleys having zero general security water allocations.

"Here's hoping for rain."

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