ANOTHER stellar cotton crop is expected to picked in the region in the coming weeks.
Growers and industry experts alike are predicting solid yields to come from this year’s crop, which has been flourishing in perfect weather conditions in the lead up to harvest.
The Southern Cotton gin, located near Whitton, is about to enter its fifth season and is expecting to process at least 180,000 bales, according to general manager Kate O’Callaghan.
“We’re still hoping to reach that 200,000 mark again this year,” Mrs O’Callaghan said.
“We’ve got 49 growers booked in to do their ginning with us.
“It’s looking to be another really great season.
“Most growers expect to get nine to 10 bales per hectare and there’s also a lot of new growers in the area, so it’s looking very positive again. We can’t wait to get started.”
Southern Cotton will be holding a staff induction for its 47 seasonal casual workers on Monday.
“We’ve got a really good mix of local residents mixed in with grey nomads and backpackers this year,” Mrs O’Callaghan said.
Whitton cotton grower Dallas Stott is preparing to start picking next week and had his fingers crossed for positive results.
“The crop is looking pretty good,” he said.
“I’ve planted a bit over 700 hectares, so we’re expecting hopefully about 7000 bales.
“This is our sixth cotton crop … I think this season is probably going to be slightly better than average, but perhaps not as good as last year.”
Mr Stott said most growers would have already locked in their contracts and figures to sell their product, with $500 per bale the “magic number”.
“The conditions this year have been really great,” Mr Stott said.
“There’s still some defoliation happening, but it’s looking good.”
Mr Stott’s property is located not far from the Southern Cotton gin, which was constructed and funded by a consortium of growers from the area.
“It’s certainly very handy having it so close,” he said.
“It definitely helps with freight costs and they do a great job there.”