Top outlook for cotton at Bourke

Cotton harvesting at Darling Farms on Tuesday. Photo THW
Cotton Australia General Manager Michael Murray. Photo TWH

The cotton harvest is in full swing around Bourke and Brewarrina, just as a big river arrives delivering more than enough water for next year’s crop.

Local cotton growers are expected to harvest about 9,000 hectares between Brewarrina and Bourke during April and May, and hopes are high for a great yield.

Out on Darling Farms, Manager John Carter says he is expecting an excellent yield on the 5,000 hectares of irrigated cotton planted at Fort Bourke, Janbeth and Carbuu, and a much lower yield on the dryland crop of about 1,300 hectares.

“The irrigated cotton has come through quite well and is looking like a heavy crop,” Mr Carter said.

“Some fields appear to be yielding extremely well, although we won’t know for sure until we get some of this cotton into the gin.

“But I won’t be surprised if we yield somewhere around 14 bales per hectare on average across all farms.

‘And that’s not bad,” Mr Carter said, “considering the difficulties we have had this year with crop inputs and with sourcing labour at the right times of the year.

“Labour availability has been a problem all year, insect pressure has been a problem, we have run out of water on some crops, and COVID has restricted the availability of some critical chemicals at times,” Mr Carter said.

General Manager of Clyde Cotton, John Ellis, was happy to see a good cotton crop in Bourke at last, with prospects for another next season.

The last crop Clyde Cotton harvested was in 2016-17 before the drought forced the industry to a standstill. This season there are 2,300 hectares under crop with harvest likely to begin in a week or two.

“We have three properties with cotton crops – Rumleigh, Latoka and Beemery – and we are expecting an average yield of about 13 bales per hectare,” Mr Ellis said.

Read more local news in the printed edition of The Western Herald.

To subscribe call (02) 6872 2333 today and receive The Western Herald in your letterbox next week!