Harvest wraps up

Pete Johnson.

With the last of the southern cotton fields having just wrapped up picking, cotton growers across Queensland and NSW are now reflecting on the season that was.

Cotton prices have rallied somewhat over the past month and while average dryland and irrigation yields look promising, it’s certainly not been a season without challenge.

Pete Johnson from Left Field Solutions said the dry start to the season created plenty of headaches while significant rain events on the Central Highlands in February and southern NSW last week have also impacted both quality and prices.

“Most growers are feeling pretty positive about the season but it hasn’t been all beer and skittles,” Mr Johnson said.

“It was not an ideal year in terms of moisture.

“Others were impacted by rain and some of those price penalties on the Emerald cotton would be close enough to $100/bale, which hurts. Some have achieved a better result by tendering their cotton.”

Mr Johnson said average yields had largely exceeded expectations and created plenty of optimism about new technology such as Bollgard 3.

“There has been some variability but there are plenty of people who have yielded up to and in excess of 15 bales to the hectare, which is outstanding,” he said.

“Some dryland producers yielded close to 10bales/ha.”

Mr Johnson said this year’s crop was expected to produce just over 2.6 million bales compared to 2.35 million in 2015.

He said prices had rallied over the past month, with Border Rivers growers currently looking at $480 to $485/bale while growers on the Downs were achieving $490/bale.

“There is also a fleeting chanceto lock in next year’s crop at $500 a bale.When growers started picking in March, prices were$420/bale so they have been able to balance things out. Cotton seed values have risen as well, which has helped overall values.”

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