Bumper season for cotton farmers
THE largest cotton harvest in Australia's history will deliver enough material to create more than one billion pairs of jeans.
A surprisingly strong season, which overcame poor weather from earlier in the year, is expected to deliver 4.7 million bales of cotton.
Each bale weighs 227kg.
The haul is credited to a spike in new farmers planting the crop across Queensland and northern New South Wales, with the record-breaking harvest coinciding with more growers than ever before.
Cotton Australia chief Adam Kay said it was especially good news for those in the Darling Downs still recovering from the floods that struck the region in 2011.
Darling Downs alone had more than 100,000 hectares growing the crops.
"We're about 75% through the harvest," Mr Kay said.
"There's some crop lost to flooding. Some were waterlogged so yields were reduced a little bit but not as much as we thought.
"It is leading us to think this is a national crop of 4.7 million bales, which eclipses last year's record of 4.1 million.
"We're picking a crop worth more than $2.5 billion."
The entirety of the harvest will be exported, with 70% or 3.2 million bales being delivered to China.
Indonesia, Thailand are both significant customers followed by Japan and South Korea.
"It's exciting that cotton can offer the good returns to producers," Mr Kay said.
"There is a global demand for cotton and Australia can produce the yields that are three-times more than the global average.
"We're incredibly efficient at producing this natural fibre."
FARMERS COTTON ON
The Australian harvest of cotton will create 4.7 million bales, which equals:
- One billion pairs of jeans OR;
- 1.1 billion single bed sheets, OR;
- 5.6 billion t-shirts OR;
- 16 billion pairs of socks OR;
- 9.87 billion boxer shorts.