Australia’s cotton production at a 37-year low

Media Release

Australia’s cotton production dropped 72 per cent in 2019-20 to 115 million kilograms, the lowest level since 1982-83, according to data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

ABS Director of Agriculture Statistics, Sarah Kiely, said: “High temperatures, below average rainfall and reduced water availability meant many farmers had to change their cropping plans to adapt to the conditions during the 2019-20 financial year.

“These adverse conditions saw a 78 per cent fall in the value of cotton, down from $1 billion recorded in 2018-19 to $252 million.”

Nationally, the total value of all crops decreased 5 per cent to $28 billion with the value of wheat down 20 per cent to $5 billion.

Despite the tough conditions experienced by many farmers in 2019-20, the total value of Australian agriculture remained steady at $61 billion, driven by ongoing drought related destocking.

Ms Kiely said: “Poor seasonal conditions across much of the country saw many cattle and sheep producers continuing to destock during 2019-20. This resulted in the value of cattle and calves disposals increasing 14 per cent to $15 billion, while the value of sheep and lamb disposals increased 16 per cent to $5 billion.”

Australia’s sheep flock fell to its lowest level since 1904 with a fall of 3 per cent to 64 million sheep. Following a similar pattern, the beef cattle herd reduced 6 per cent to 21 million head, its lowest level since 1990.

Further information can be found in Agricultural Commodities, Australia, 2019-20; and Value of Agricultural Commodities Produced, Australia, 2019-20.

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