More than 12,000ha of the total Australian cotton crop is estimated to have been damaged by 2,4-D drift in this season to date, costing the industry more than $8.8 million.
Cotton Australia CEO, Adam Kay, says that while recent rains would be welcomed by most farmers not affected by flooding, cotton is particularly susceptible to herbicides and growers must take care to avoid damaging crops downwind.
“Much of the damage to last year’s cotton crop followed rain, so we ask all farmers to take extra care when using Phenoxy herbicides,” Mr Kay says.
“We understand that weed control is important, but so is respecting your neighbours and their ability to earn an income from the land.”
“We urge all farmers to follow the legal requirements for use of Phenoxy herbicides, which are clearly labelled on the products.”
Cotton Australia CEO, Adam Kay, says the organisation stands ready to assist those growers impacted by flooding, and encourages them to access the Australian Government’s disaster assistance funding program.
“Our thoughts are also with farmers in other industries who have been devastated by these extreme events,” Mr Kay says.
He says water logging may have a short-term impact to the cotton crop in areas unaffected by flooding, however this will be balanced higher yields and better fibre quality when the crop is harvested.
“In most areas where rain has not reached disaster flooding levels the additional water has been a boon for cotton farmers, bringing last-minute relief to allow crops to reach full yield and quality potential and replenishing water supplies for future irrigation,” he says.
“While not as large as last year’s record yield, this year’s cotton harvest is still expected to be a bumper crop. Forecasts for 2013 are for a 4 million-bale crop with an export value of $2 billion.”
Cotton harvesting is expected to begin first in Emerald, Queensland towards the end of February, with the bulk of the industry following in late March and early April.
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