Inclement Weather Strikes Again: Flooding in Australia
The cotton industry in Australia made a remarkable comeback in 2010, but flooding in the state of Queensland has destroyed some of the country's record crop.
December 30, 2010
Weather took a heavy toll on the cotton industry in 2010, with massive flooding in Pakistan, a drought in China and excessive rainfall in India contributing to the worldwide fiber shortage. Unfortunately, one more country needs to be added to that list, as Australia has suffered flooding in Queensland state that destroyed about 7,500 hectares of cotton, according to Cotton Australia. How much more damage will be done depends on the weather in coming weeks.
Industry sources expected this season’s production to reach a record 4.2 million bales from 665,000 hectares under cultivation. It’s too early to tell how much that number will change, since most harvesting won’t begin until April. Hopes for the 2010/11 season remain high, with production estimates as high as 894,000 metric tons, more than doubling last season’s 387,000 metric tons.
Whether it’s flooding or a drought, water is always a major factor in Australia, the world’s fifth-largest cotton exporter. As a result, Australian growers are among the most efficient in the world when it comes to water usage. About 84 percent of the cotton crop is irrigated, accounting for 16 percent of the country’s agricultural water usage.