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Sharon Johnson: Aussie wheat floods

sharon johnson 01/07/2011 @ 6:56am Toll Free 1-866-513-5800 Local 770-992-5000 sharoncjohnson@cottoninfo.net

After extraordinary issues with heavy rains and flooding last fall in Pakistan and then India along with problematic weather affecting China through its entire season, the market is more than a little sensitive to any additional challenges cotton producers may face in the southern hemisphere. Unfortunately, what began as a promising start to planting with unusually heavy rains last Oct/Nov in Australia has resulted in flooding not seen in 50 if not 100 years principally in the state of Queensland. 

Before we dive into how rain and its consequences have impacted production, let’s review where cotton is grown.  These two maps are both dated but show the location of cotton plantings in general. 

Per PECAD(USDA’s FAS Global Crop Production Analysis division)

Where is cotton grown in Australia? 

Around 80 per cent of total production occurs in New South Wales, in the Macquarie Valley, the Namoi Valley, the Gwydir Valley and Bourke and the remainder in Queensland, in the Macintyre Valley, Darling Downs, St George, Theodore, Biloela and Emerald regions.

About 92 per centof total production and 85% of total area is under flood irrigation.  The area of cotton harvested in 2002-03 was estimated by ABARE at 203 000 hectares, being significantly reduced because of the drought. In 2000-01, the area harvested was 527 000 hectares.

Most Australian cotton farms are owned and operated by family farmers, with around 1500 spread across the Australian eastern states of Queensland and New South Wales. All of these farmers grow other crops and many graze sheep and cattle as well.

Where is Australian cotton produced? 

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