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Major Commodities - Cotton

Of all the fibre sold worldwide, over 40 percent is cotton.

Grown exclusively between 45 degrees north and 35 degrees south of the Equator anywhere in the world, cotton in Australia is made up of 361 cotton farms.

Australian producers achieve not only world record yields, but do so working in one of the harshest natural climates on Earth. Australia's cotton farmers employ sophisticated technology and constantly seek new innovations to ensure their cotton remains in high demand the world over.

Australian cotton: fast facts

  • There are 361 cotton farms in Australia. Of these 150 are in NSW, and 211 are in QLD.
  • Australian Bureau of Statistics, Agricultural Commodities 2009/2010, Catalogue No.7121.0

  • The average Australian cotton farm is medium-sized, family-owned and operated farming operation, with 362 hectares of cotton and creates jobs for eight people.
  • Cotton Australia, Australian Cotton Industry Facts 2008.

  • The value of Australian raw cotton exports in 2009-10 was $755 million, due to drought. In 2010-11, with improved seasonal conditions for cotton growers, this figure equalled $1,369 million.
  • ABARES, Australian Commodity Statistics, 2010 and 2011.

  • The gross value of Australian cotton production (both lint and seed) in 2009-10 was $876.1 million. In 2010-11 this had jumped to $2.5881 billion.
  • ABARES, Australian Commodity Statistics, 2010 and 2011.

  • The last time the Australian Cotton industry grew a crop in excess of 3.5 million bales was from an area of more than 540,000 hectares. Efficiency gains means cotton growers can now produce the same cotton on 420,000 hectares.
  • Cotton Australia 2010

  • The Australian Cotton industry is gearing up for a record breaking crop with more than 583,000 hectares expected to be planted with cotton for the 2011-12 season, making it the largest cotton crop ever planted
    in this country.
  • Cotton Australia 2011

  • In a normal year, Australia's cotton growers produce enough cotton to clothe 500 million people.
  • Cotton Australia, Australian Cotton Industry Facts, October 2007.

  • Over the last 10 years, the Australian cotton industry has reduced pesticide use by over 90 percent, through a combination of biotechnology and Integrated Pest Management practices.
  • Cotton Australia, Fact Sheets 2008.

  • Australian cotton growers have doubled their water efficiency during the last 10 years, through a combination of better water monitoring and irrigation scheduling, evaporation control and improved
    irrigation practices. The industry target is to double water efficiency again within the next five years.
    Internationally, Australian cotton growers are three times more water efficient than the global average.
  • Cotton Australia 2010

  • In 2008-09, Australia recorded cotton lint yields of 1.857 tonnes per hectare. This is approximately two and a half times the global average.
  • ABARES, Australian Commodity Statistics, 2010

For more, view NFF Farm Facts 2012.

Further information

< Major Commodities