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Australian cotton industry hits tough times

2 February 2016

In an industry expected to see some fierce competition from synthetic fabric producers, Australian cotton is holding up admirably in the face of some difficult conditions. The ABC reports the industry is struggling, due to a challenging season marked by water shortages and damage from herbicides, however the sale price of cotton has surged well ahead of last season.

Cotton Australia has reported that at least 20 per cent of the nation's entire supply has been damaged by off-target spray drift, potentially costing the industry $20 million to date. It's incidents such as this that drive home the importance of having the right crop insurance cover for your agribusiness.

According to Cotton Australia CEO Adam Kay, recent weather conditions have made life incredibly difficult for the nation's producers.

"Heavier-than-usual seasonal rainfall has encouraged weed growth which, in turn, led to more spraying by farmers and applicators, and this has combined with temperature inversions to produce substantial off-target spray drift," he said. 

Light at the end of the tunnel

Regardless of these challenges facing producers, recent news isn't all bad for Australia's cotton industry. The Land has reported that, despite the competition from synthetics, price forecasts for 2016 are around $505 per bale, well above the $480-490 typical of last season. 

While falling oil prices were expected to lead to the increased production, and subsequently reduced prices, of Chinese-made polyester, the high quality of Australia's natural product has stayed strong. 

"Australian cotton has a fundamentally great point of differentiation to other growths and competing fibres - we grow some of the brightest, longest and strongest fibre," said Tony Geitz, Australian Cotton Shippers Association chairman.

The challenges presented by Australia's climate are hardly exclusive to the cotton industry, so it's important to know your crop insurance policy has you covered. If you have any concerns regarding any aspects of your farm insurance package, speak to your insurance agent today.

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