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Record Cotton Acres Planted in Australia

22 December 2010

AUSTRALIA - The Australian 2010/11 cotton crop is setting new heights for the industry, says

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.

About 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."

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 per cent over the last decade."

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

"Seed-sales data suggests that 99 per cent 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."

And 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.

"I don't know of any other crop input supplier that offers growers a 100 per cent refund on their products if a crop fails due to events such as drought or flood. This is genuine risk sharing," said O'Keeffe.

Note that planting windows in some areas remain open and the final area of cotton planted will be confirmed in early January 2011.

TheCropSite News Desk

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