Greg Hutchinson with his daughters Emily and Heidi.
Greg Hutchinson with his daughters Emily and Heidi. MICHELLE HUTCHINSON

Strong cotton prices are pointing to best season in years

"IT IS looking to be an above average season for us,” CQ farmer Greg Hutchinson said.

As cotton prices remain at a steady high, this year's cotton season is shaping up to be the best for a few years.

Farmers around Central Queensland are beginning the process of cotton picking now, earlier than usual.

Moura farmer Greg Hutchinson is among the many cotton farmers in the Callide Dawson.

"Anyone in CQ can be picking January and July,” Mr Hutchinson said.

"It was a warm August so we planted earlier to pick earlier to get away from weather events, if a cyclone was to come down or floods.

"Some farmers in Theodore picked last month. I don't think they have ever picked that early.”

The Hutchinsons have planted 900 hectares of cotton on irrigated land and 200 hectares on dry land.

"We're all the way from foliating, ready to pick in a week's time, and cotton that is only a month old and is starting to flower, it still has a whole season to go,” Mr Hutchinson said.

At more than 1000 hectares it is more cotton than they have planted before.

"It's the biggest season we have done, we are bringing new areas into production,” Mr Hutchinson said.

Greg and Heidi Hutchinson in the cotton fields of Macander, Moura.
Greg and Heidi Hutchinson in the cotton fields of Macander, Moura. MICHELLE HUTCHINSON

A major reason Mr Hutchinson decided to plant more cotton was the high price.

"The prices have been exceptional this year,” he said.

"At the moment you are looking at $530-40 a bale.”

Prices have gone up to $570, making it a better than average season.

"Anything over $500 is good to grow at,” Mr Hutchinson said.

But it's not all good news.

"Cotton seed is down to $250 tonne, normally it's $400,” Mr Hutchinson said.

"It's a byproduct of the cotton ginning process.”

Some good rain has spiked some Callide Dawson farmers' spirits.

"We just had a good rain event here, hopefully it hasn't downgraded the cotton,” Mr Hutchinson said.

"We have a bit of a flow in the river, hopefully it will give us a good start on the crop next year.”

Last weekend, his Moura property was subject to 100mm of rain.

"Considering we have had only 60mm since November it was a godsend,” Mr Hutchinson said.

Greg Hutchinson with his daughter Heidi in the cotton fields of Macander, Moura.
Greg Hutchinson with his daughter Heidi in the cotton fields of Macander, Moura. MICHELLE HUTCHINSON

"It's nice that you can actually see it rain, we had a dry December and January and you start to think it won't rain again and you worry,” Mr Hutchinson said.

"Overnight things changed around, it's given us a spring in our step now.”

Touch wood, there won't be any natural disasters this year either.

"In a way it would have been nice to have some rain, it's nice to have a good season on the Dawson without a flood event,” Mr Hutchinson said.

"We are thankful there have been small flows in the river, just enough to get our crops through, which is probably an ideal season.”

Most farmers around the Callide Dawson are all feeling a bit confident this season will be great as well.

"It's been a reasonably good season for everyone,” Mr Hutchinson said.

"All in all it is looking to be an above average season for us.

"Overall it is going to be a good season for us with prices and yields.”



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