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Rains bring hope to cotton growers
11
Jan '10
Prior to Christmas, thousands of hectares of cotton was ploughed out due to a lack of water in some of the key valleys, but widespread rainfall over the Christmas period has brought welcome relief to many cotton regions.

Reports from our growers tell us there were mixed results throughout the cotton regions, but generally the widespread and significant rainfall brought much needed rain for crops currently in the ground, and in some areas the opportunity to fill on-farm storages.

While missing out on the big falls that hit parts of NSW, Queensland regions all reported rain to varying degrees.

Central Queensland
Emerald saw mixed results, with decent falls of about 50-75mm recorded and up to 125mm in some places but little runoff into the dam.

Darling Downs
Rain on the Darling Downs was patchy, and without runoff occurring in the upstream parts of the catchment, limiting pumping opportunities.

St George
Around St George, where some crops had been ploughed out before Christmas, a narrow-band hailstorm further damaged crops in its path. Other local areas received between 70mm-130mm in subsequent rain events, while rain upstream in the catchment saw significant inflow into Beardmore Dam. This will be absolutely vital for the remaining crop and will allow late summer crop plantings.

Dirranbandi
Dirranbandi region growers received varying falls, with reports from about 140mm to as high as 250mm for farms at the southern end of the area. Further downstream, the Culgoa River was reportedly in flood and the Narran Lakes wet, thanks to large falls in western regions of NSW and Queensland.

Dawson Valley
Growers faced similar testing conditions before the rain, having planted into a marginal outlook for irrigation entitlement. Some crops had been let go, but growers told Cotton Australia that these crops may yet recover after December and January rain. Further storms upstream in the catchment were hoped to result in a 100 percent allocation.

Border Rivers
The Border Rivers region received flows in the Weir and Macintyre Rivers, with growers reporting they have enough water to finish the season and are starting to bank a supply for later in the year. Unfortunately, Glenlyon and Pindari Dams received very small in-flows.

Gwydir
Over the border, and the Gwydir Valley received over 100mm in places and fields ran some water that was captured on-farm. It was generally enough to save growers from starting siphons during the Christmas period – and should also now secure the crop. However, the very dry starting conditions meant that not all paddocks ran water, and no big flows entered the river. Growers could access up to 10% of supplementary licenses on the Mehi and Gwydir Rivers. Unfortunately, Copeton Dam received very small inflows.

Lower Namoi
Cotton farmers are reporting rainfall of up to 200mm in some areas, with many farmers able to access their supplementary water licence and most irrigators now having an assured water supply for the remainder of the year. Unfortunately, Keepit Dam received only a 2% increase.

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