COTTON is being grown in more regions than ever before, and with a rise in popularity in Far North Queensland, the industry is bracing for expansion.
Cotton Australia Chief Executive Officer, Adam Kay, said there was definitely room to expand, with Australian cotton in demand globally.
“We sell every bale, so there is room for expansion,” he said.
With the Greentree and Harris families in the Gulf both growing successful crops this year, and one to be planted in Kununurra, Northern Territory, in January, Mr Kay said great prices were helping boost grower numbers.
“The cotton prices are phenomenal at the moment – $540 per bale today is a good solid price that encourages people to put cotton in the ground,” he said.
“We’ve seen in the southernmost parts of the industry expansion, and now we’re starting to see it in the northernmost part of the industry.”
Monsanto said 1200 hectares was forecast to be planted in the Gilbert Valley in the Gulf this season, and the Ord River in Kununurra is forecast to plant 250ha.
Cotton has now been grown in north Queensland for three years.
Monsanto said in the first year 100ha was planted, and last year (the second year) 980ha was planted.
“The growers in that region are looking to achieve proof of concept with respect to growing cotton as well as generating stability and volume of production in order to justify investment in supporting infrastructure such as a cotton gin,” a spokesperson said.
Monsanto national business manager of cotton expansion, Paul Brady, said the north was booming.
“North Queensland holds great promise as a future cotton growing area,” he said.
“Growers tells us the area has more predictable rainfall patterns and that cotton crops can grow in a shorter timeframe.
“We are excited to see how the area develops over the coming years.”