Cotton creeping south
❝If (farmers) have a good growing season in the southern region the upside yield potential is much better. — Luke Sampson
COTTON plantings in southern NSW are tipped to double this season, amid high water allocations, excellent planting conditions and good prices.
And for the first time, cotton planted in the Riverina will outstrip rice plantings.
This year it is predicted 89,320ha of cotton will be planted in the Lachlan, Murray and Murrumbidgee irrigation valleys, up 53% on the 58,210ha planted last year.
That’s according to figures from Monsanto based on farmer planting intentions.
The biggest jump in plantings was in the Murrumbidgee Valley, up 56% or 24,000ha on last year to 66,800ha. While in the Murray Valley, traditionally a strong rice-growing region, Monsanto predicts plantings are up 36% to 4020ha. In the Lachlan system, cotton acreage is tipped to rise 49% to 18,500ha.
A reasonably large rice crop is predicted to be planted in the NSW Riverina.
Last month the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences forecast 84,000ha of rice would be planted this year and, if realised, it will be the third largest crop in the past decade and up on the 80,000ha planted last season.
Monsanto southern NSW regional business manager, Luke Sampson, said the region was on track for record cotton production for the second year in a row.
He said good water allocations in the irrigation regions was a major reason for the lift in cotton plantings, along with better potential profitability for growers compared with other crops such as rice and corn.
“The upside potential is significantly better in cotton than corn or rice,” he said.
“If (farmers) have a good growing season in the southern region, the upside yield potential is much better.”
Cotton Australia southern valleys regional manager, Honi Anderson, said last season’s crop was affected by wet conditions that prevented plantings, but conditions this year had been ideal.
“There are existing growers who are planting a lot more than last year, and new growers who are opting for cotton for the first time,” she said.
Rice Growers Association president, Jeremy Morton, said they would still “like higher water allocations” but he believed there would be good rice plantings because a lot of water had been carried over from last year.
GOOD SEASON AHEAD: Conditions for cotton are ideal.