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Australia starts a bumper cotton harvest

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Australia’s biggest ever cotton harvest is underway in New South Wales and Queensland. Despite heavy rain and flooding in Queensland, Cotton Australia predicts the Australian harvest will top four million bales this season. "With yields up and cotton prices going from strength to strength it’s great news for the state’s cotton farmers," said Myles Parker, manager of industry development broadacre cropping for Industry and Investment NSW. "Off the back of strong cotton prices, it is tipped the crop will net about $2.3 billion for Australia’s cotton industry." Despite the recent natural disasters in QLD, the northern state is expected to produce 1.79 million bales. NSW will lead the harvest at 2.27 million bales, with farmers overcoming a plague of Spur Throated Locusts and heavy rains. The harvest has already started in QLD and Northern NSW and will move south as the season progresses. Cotton Australia chief executive Adam Kay said the industry was still looking for harvesters.  "With such a massive crop predicted, we are still looking to recruit enough workers to harvest and gin our cotton." Up to 98 percent of Australian cotton is sold for export. The biggest markets for Australian cotton are China, Indonesia, Thailand, South Korea and Japan, while the industry also exports cottonseed to the USA, Japan, Saudi Arabia and Korea.

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