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Cotton brings jobs and prosperity for Barwon-Darling towns


Cotton growers along the Barwon-Darling River should be proud of their achievements in recent years, according to Cotton Australia CEO Adam Kay. Photo TWH

The value of the cotton harvest from the Bourke, Brewarrina and Walgett region will be more than $150 million this year.

The crop value is one of the biggest in years – providing a huge cash injection to local economies.

Cotton yields at Bourke, Brewarrina and Walgett have been impressive at around 14 bales to the hectare.

The national yield is only just below the record harvest of 2022, and Cotton Australia CEO Adam Kay said cotton from Bourke, Brewarrina and Walgett was in hot demand and every bale harvested would be sold on the international market.

The Australian cotton industry is worth an astounding billion dollars and for the far west, was the biggest agriculture industry for the region.

“Cotton growers at Bourke, Brewarrina and Walgett should be proud of what they have achieved,” Mr Kay said.

“The 2022 harvest was a record 5.6 million bales for Australia and for 2023 the harvest is 5.5 million bales and that is a fantastic result, and a little unexpected.

“That result was because of the excellent harvest in Bourke, Brewarrina and Dirranbandi, some of the hotter areas, but in 2023 it was slightly cooler and that’s why Bourke, St George and Dirranbandi are reporting phenomenal yields.

“That is well above the average harvest, with this year seeing about 13 to 14 bales per hectare - a phenomenal result for Bourke,” he said.

Some individual fields around Bourke have been reporting up to 19 bales per hectare which is unbelievable and thought to be due to research into new varieties and smart us of water efficient technology.

Although cotton manufacturing in Australia is a thing of the past, the export trade is very healthy, according to Mr Kay.

“The harvest this year is certainly great for local economies, and a good cotton season is good for Bourke, good for Brewarrina and Walgett and for communities all along the Barwon-Darling and right across the industry. […]

Read more in the printed edition of The Western Herald.

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