THE nation's cotton growers are being honoured as part of World Cotton Day as the industry braces for one of its best seasons in decades.
Strong international demand as well as promising seasonal conditions and water allocations have growers across the country buoyed by the upcoming season's prospects.
The celebration comes as Australia's cotton industry announced that it had virtually already sold out of cotton, despite China having signifanctly reducing its imports of the product a year ago.
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Cotton Australia chief executive officer Adam Kay said the strong demand was proof the industry's hard work in finding other international markets such as Vietnam and Indonesia was paying off.
"There is no doubt that China was a vital trading partner for us, and we hope that they will be again, but we needed to secure sales for our top-quality cotton and that's what our merchants have done," Mr Kay said.
Today, on #WorldCottonDay, we’re recognising the versatility of Australian cotton!— Cotton Australia (@CottonAustralia) October 6, 2021
Did you know cotton is a food and a fibre crop?
"Many of our farmers have already secured contracts for their cotton on the futures market and that gives us a great start to the sales campaign for this season. We sell every bale we produce and 2022 will be no different."
Australian Cotton Shippers Association chairman Michael O'Rielley said the industry was on the up after producing only 600,000 bales two years ago, 2.5 million bales last season to this year's potential 4.5 million-bale harvest, thanks in part to the hard work of the entire industry and a grant from the Federal Government under the Agricultural Trade and Market Access Cooperation (ATMAC) Program.
"Twelve months on I think things are looking positive. We are not without our challenges but there's life after China - there really is," Mr O'Rielley said
"We are still fielding enquiries for the 2021 crop however we are all but sold out. If we could get more bales, we would sell them because the demand is certainly there.
"Right now, Vietnam is our biggest export market followed by Indonesia, which currently has the most upside.
"They are our closest neighbour, and we have short shipping times. We are a lot more competitive in terms of price, and we can land it there quickly for an industry operating in a 'just-in-time' environment.
"The pandemic has increased prices and competition for containers while shipping lines are more selective, choosing ports with easy access. Once we have secured shipping, we can land bales in Asia in two weeks compared to eight-to-12 weeks for the US and Brazil."
World Cotton Day comes after a recent study found the industry had drastically reduced the amount of water, insecticide and land required to produce a bale of cotton.
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The story Australian growers honoured as part of World Cotton Day first appeared on The Land.