Bumper cotton yields at Bourke and Bre


Bourke machinery contractor Allan Ryan says the cotton industry is vital for the economic health of the Bourke district . PHOTO TWH

After years of drought, local cotton farmers have turned a corner, taking advantage of favourable growing conditions, including abundant water.

According to Cotton Australia, Australian cotton has a reputation for being among the best quality sustainable cotton grown anywhere in the world and the 2021 crop sold out despite the soft ban on Australian cotton from China.

The 2021 Australian crop of 2.8 million bales was a vast improvement on the 2020-year crop of less than 590,000 bales, the smallest crop in recent history.

And this year, growers at Bourke and Brewarrina are benefiting with high yields of 12-16 bales per hectare.

The Namoi Cotton gin at North Bourke has been ginning since April 19, which is about three weeks later than usual.

Namoi Cotton Account Manager, Jacob Booby, said that the North Bourke facility is processing an average of 350 bales a day, with maximum output of 460 per day. The Clyde Cotton on the southern edge of Bourke is ginning at a similar rate.

Cotton growers across the region have had some challenges harvesting the crop, with labour shortages and wet weather delaying the harvest. The gins have had similar difficulties.

Mr Booby said that labour has been a huge issue this year, particularly skilled labour.

“Namoi Cotton saw this was going to be an issue and flew in ten ginners from Zimbabwe and two from South Africa, and two of these ginners are currently based at Bourke.


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