Australia's cotton crop is set to reach near-record levels next season as significantly good returns prod farmers to continue increasing sowings, a US officials disclosed. The US Department of Agriculture's bureau in Canberra forecast 2017-18 cotton production at 5.0 m bales, up from 4.6m bales in the previous season due to attractive cotton prices, cheap water and strong overseas demand. These factors encouraged Australian cotton growers to increase plantings for the 2017-18 season and the share of dry land cotton has increased significantly," the bureau reported.
Cotton production is now forecast at the second highest level on record, representing a huge increase from the crop of just 2.30 m bales recorded during the 2014-15 crop year. The recent boom in production is due to increased area, as farmers increase plantings following good returns, with harvested area also producing near record levels. Cotton exports from Australia are forecast at 4.8m bales in 2017-18, up 600,000 bales year-on-year, following greater production and strong international demand.
China is still expected to remain the key destination for Australian exports but the bureau noted high levels of stocks have reduced demand in recent years. However, new demand is emerging from the Indian textile industry. Nearly 25 per cent of exports during 2016-17 went to India, as against just 2 to 3 per cent in during the previous years.