Australia’s cotton production in 2020/21 marketing year seen 350% higher than previous year

Australia’s cotton production in the 2020/21 marketing year is estimated at 2.8 million 480-pound bales (0.610 million metric tons), up 0.3 million bales from last month, and up 2.2 million bales or roughly 350 percent from the previous year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in its latest global agri report.

Harvested area is estimated at 275,000 hectares, unchanged from last month, but up nearly 360 percent from the previous year, it said, adding that yield is forecast at 2,217 kilograms per hectare, up 12 percent from last month, and 23 percent above the 5-year average.

The USDA said yield had been revised up based on better than expected harvest results to date. Harvest progress was estimated at 50 percent complete as of May 27.

Irrigated cotton comprises about 90 percent of Australia’s total cotton production; the remaining 10 percent is produced by rainfed operations. Irrigated cotton yields are substantially higher than dryland yields, and the difference widens in low-rainfall years. Dryland cotton planting tends to vary with the seasonal weather forecast and prices at sowing.

“A significant area has been planted to dryland cotton in MY 2020/21, rebounding from the remarkably low amount in MY 2019/20. The above average rainfall prior to sowing increased water storage for irrigated cotton and provided adequate soil moisture in many dryland cotton areas,” USDA said.

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