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|Title:||CRDC Annual Report 2003-2004|
|Abstract:||Australian cotton is grown in a relatively compact and contiguous part of the country. This delivers a number of efficiencies but also makes the industry relatively more susceptible to drought than, for example, grain crops grown in more diverse areas throughout the country, with major cotton regions often coming under the same weather pattern. Drought or marginal conditions prevailed over most, but not all, of the ‘cotton belt’ in the 2003–04 season. The gap between income and expenses is continually narrowing for Australian cotton growers, who face ever-increasing costs in many areas of production such as machinery (imported and thus sensitive to the rising value of the dollar) and water and freight costs. This makes the efficiency contributions from CRDC’s research and development program – efficiencies such as improved water use efficiency, lower chemical use and higher yield from improved varieties – vitally important to the continued economic sustainability of the industry Cotton’s excellent economic record and contribution has suffered a setback in the past two seasons because of the prolonged drought and the effects will be felt for the next two to three seasons. Increased efficiencies delivered by CRDC funded and coordinated research in 2003–04 and planned for 2004–05 will aid that recovery, particularly as the corporation’s Field to Fabric Initiative gathers momentum. In addition, the increased use of ever-improving Bollgard® II and Roundup Ready® varieties will continue to reduce the cost of insecticide and herbicide inputs to the crop, delivering economic, environmental and health dividends. THE 2004 HARVEST Despite some earlier concerns that the seasons conditions may cause problems with colour, fibre immaturity and neppiness (short, tangled fibres) in some regions, the quality of cotton has been good, with a significantly lower proportion falling into the discounted over-mature category than in the preceding drought-affected season. One notable feature of the season was that dryland crops (grown using only natural rainfall) in parts of the Darling Downs and the north-western slopes of New South Wales received excellent and timely rainfall, resulting in high yields and unprecedented quality premiums for a number of growers. Indications are that the 2004 cotton harvest should reach approximately 1.5 million bales, exceeding the 1.25 million bale forecast used as the basis of CRDC’s 2003–04 budget. Even with this revised figure, 2004 will see Australia’s smallest crop since the late 1980s, which means we will be unable to fulfill demand and risk losing some traditional key markets. This comes at a particularly unfortunate time for Australian cotton, with the United States and Brazil aggressively targeting those markets.|
|ISBN:||1 876354 97 6|
|Appears in Collections:||CRDC Annual Reports|
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