Cotton Australia has confirmed what people had suspected in the light of the ongoing dry - this year's Aussie cotton crop is on track to be the smallest in a decade.
With only a few cotton producers able to access water, principally from groundwater, to grow crops this summer Cotton Australia has come out with an estimated crop size of 750,000 bales.
In perspective, this is just 16 per cent of what was grown two years ago when there was a cotton harvest of 4.6 million bales.
Cotton Australia chief executive Adam Kay said it was a difficult time for cotton producers across drought stricken eastern Australia.
"Growers are resilient and used to managing through volatility, but the relentlessness and severity of this drought is taking its toll," Mr Kay said.
Even with an increasingly diverse geographic footprint, as cotton production moves out of its traditional heartland in southern Queensland and northern NSW as far south as Victoria as improved varieties with tolerance to colder conditions hit the market there is still few areas with the capacity to irrigate.
"There will be some cotton producing valleys where no cotton is planted this year," Mr Kay said.
The start to the northern wet season has been sluggish, with only a few cotton producing regions receiving the heavy rain that fell earlier in the month in some parts of Queensland and NSW.
With no stored moisture virtually no cotton producers are taking the punt on dryland cotton, especially with the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) this week suggesting the Indian Ocean Dipole positive event that has contributed to the ongoing dry is so strong it may not break down until mid-summer.
Mr Kay said while the planting window was still open if there was no significant rainfall in the coming months, cotton growers will face the harsh reality of a further reduced crop this season.