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Record cotton crop plantings for 2010/11 season
13
Dec '10
The Australian 2010/11 cotton crop is setting new heights for the industry.

This season is fast shaping up to see the biggest Australian cotton crop ever, with over 665,000 hectares planted to date - a vast increase on last year's total planting of 211,000 hectares.

Other key statistics are that around 260,000 hectares of this year's crop is dryland production and the previous largest crop of 561,500 hectares was recorded in 1998/99.

This summer, cotton will stretch from Queensland through northern NSW all the way down to the Murrumbidgee valley in southern NSW.

Cotton Australia CEO, Adam Kay, says after a decade of drought, rain and strong international prices are driving a long-overdue Australian cotton resurgence.

“When you add a wet start with the highest price for cotton since the 1860'S, then you can see why we are on track for a record Australian cotton harvest.”

Mr Kay says the long term investment by the cotton industry into R&D can appear in ways that can't be seen.

“Growers are telling us that without the availability of GM cotton varieties, the weeds this year would be so out of control you wouldn't just be hard pressed to see the cotton for the weeds, you'd be lucky to find the house.

“This technology has helped the Australian cotton industry reduce our chemical usage by around 90% over the last decade.”

Monsanto Country Lead, Peter O'Keeffe, says GM varieties have proved overwhelmingly popular.

“Seed-sales data suggests that 99% of the crop is GM varieties, bred in Australia for Australian conditions.

“Both irrigated and dryland growers see the value in using these varieties to ward-off the main insect pests and provide efficient weed control. This is as strong an endorsement of the technology as you could wish for.”

Peter adds that 'Cotton Choices has also played a major role in the cotton resurgence, with many growers taking up the package which offers growers of Bollgard II, stacked with Roundup Ready Flex, the choice of:

• opting for a price discount on their technology licence fees
• selecting the added value of Late Crop Removal (LCR) and extended payment terms, or
• paying a set End Point Royalty (EPR) fee per bale after their cotton has been ginned.

“We specifically designed the End Point Royalty component for dryland cotton growers – their guidance helped shape it, and I'm so pleased to see over 40% of the planted area is dryland this year.”

“This strengthens our resolve to focus on assisting cotton's further extension into dryland areas by offering a viable alternative to other broadacre crops.”

“Dryland growers know that returns from cotton can be high, but the cost and risk of production associated with cotton growing can also be higher. Cotton Choices is designed to take out much of this risk.”

With the Late Crop Removal (LCR) option under Cotton Choices, growers are entitled to a refund on technology licence fees if for any reason their cotton crop fails, including flood, drought, hail, spray drift or other adverse events.

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