Australia Cotton: Production forecast revised upward Down Under
USDA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasts Australia’s 2016/17 cotton crop at 4.5 million bales, up 0.5 million or 13 % from last month, and up 1.9 million bales or 73 % from last year. Harvested area is forecast at 525000 hectares, up 50000 hectares or 11 % from last month, and up 213000 or 68 % from last year.
Yield is forecast at 1866 kg per hectare. The increase in area is driven by an increase in both irrigated and dryland cotton plantings. This will be the first time in three years that a significant area has been planted to dryland cotton.
Dryland cotton area tends to vary with the seasonal weather conditions and prices at sowing. This season’s above-average rainfall has increased water storage for irrigated cotton and provided adequate soil moisture in dryland cotton areas. Also, higher cotton prices relative to sorghum have encouraged a shift from sorghum area to cotton. Irrigated cotton area is forecast to increase, reflecting higher reservoir levels supplying cotton growing regions compared to last season. Irrigated cotton areas produce on average about 90 percent of Australia’s total cotton production. Irrigated cotton yields are substantially higher than dryland yields and the difference widens in low rainfall years.