Cotton to be king next summer

Cotton to be king next summer


Cotton harvest at the Coulton family's property at Boggabilla, NSW, earlier this year. PHOTO: Wayne Pratt Photography and Video.

Cotton harvest at the Coulton family's property at Boggabilla, NSW, earlier this year. PHOTO: Wayne Pratt Photography and Video.

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Irrigated croppers are happy to lock in some of next year's cotton crop at prices in excess of $500 a bale.

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A COMBINATION of a historically high forward cotton price and near full water storage levels has Boggabilla cotton producer Sam Coulton optimistic about the 2017-18 cotton crop.

This year’s harvest saw below average yields due to record heat in northern NSW.

“We had 51 days above 36 degrees and even with irrigation you lose yield when it is just so hot,” Mr Coulton said.

However, high prices of up to $550 a bale eased some of the pain of lower yields and Mr Coulton is looking to take advantage of healthy 2017-18 crop prices at present.

“You can get $530 a bale at present for the next crop and at anything over $500 a bale we like to lock something in.”

He said the irrigation allowed certainty surrounding yield estimates.

“We can comfortably say we will produce at least three quarters of what the yield estimate is at planting barring a flood event, so we are able to participate in futures markets without too much risk.”

He said the nearby Pindari Dam was at 100 per cent full, while on-farm storages were generally between 70-80pc full.

“It’s good to have both guaranteed water and the prospects of good prices.”

He said the idea would be to plant as much cotton as possible come the summer planting window.

“None of the other summer crops have margins anywhere near it.

“I think everyone will plant as much cotton as they can, it is only going to be limited by rotation, there might be some concerns with disease that see people looking at either corn or sorghum but in terms of gross margins cotton will be king.”

Mr Coulton said the new Bollgard 3 technology in most cotton varieties meant farmers were now able to wait until later to plant cotton.

“In our area, the latest you could plant with Bollgard 2 was around November 15, that is now out another six weeks to December 31 so that could potentially mean a lot more cotton can be planted if it is a late season.”

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