Cotton is a fibre crop grown in New South Wales and Queensland. It is a valuable part of Queensland's agriculture with the cotton fibre processed into yarn and fabric, the seed used for oil production and stockfeed, and the crop residue - stems and the leaves - used as mulch.
The industry involves about 1500 growers who are represented by Cotton Australia or the peak industry body, the Australian Cotton Industry Council.
Cotton is grown on 200,000-300,000 ha in Australia, predominantly under irrigation, but with significant rain-grown plantings (dryland) in southern Queensland and northern New South Wales (NSW). NSW grows about 70 per cent of the crop while Queensland grows 30 per cent. Estimated Australian production is 1.3 million bales with a value of approximately $750 million at the farm gate.
The 2008-09 Queensland cotton crop of 76,000 ha is estimated to have GVP value of $340 million, with an additional $37 million generated from value-adding (Prospects 2008). Australian crop yields of lint ranging from 800 kg/ha rain-grown to 3000 kg/ha irrigated are some of the most efficient in the world.
Raw cotton is separated into lint and seed in regional cotton gins located strategically across the growing regions. Well over 90 per cent of the Australian cotton crop lint is exported - mainly to Asian destinations, such as Indonesia, South Korea, Taiwan, China and Thailand.
Australia produces some of the best cotton in the world, which is highly valued by cotton spinners in export markets for its colour, strength, fibre length and lack of contamination. End users know that Australian cotton is produced under a best management practice regime (myBMP) from the field through to the cotton gin and the finished fabric. BMP is an assurance that world best practice is used to grow the crop, especially regarding environmental practices and water use efficiency.
Best management practices
Cotton Best Management Practices assist growers to improve their farm management practices to increase productivity and environmental sustainability.
Cotton resources and contacts
A comprehensive listing of cotton resources, publications and contact details of cotton organisations
Includes field to gin, gin to classing, yarn to fabric, and marketing
Growing cotton requires selection of varieties, knowledge of plant breeder's rights and management of planting and plant nutrition
The management of diseases in cotton at the farm or crop level, seedling diseases, and management strategies.
Nutrition and defoliation
Nutrition management in cotton requires an understanding of soils, soil chemistry, soil health and plant nutrient requirements.
Cotton industry overview
A comprehensive overview of the production of cotton in Queensland
Cotton - protecting the crop
Management of weeds, insects and diseases can minimise the impact on cotton productivity and profitability in a sustainable way.