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Dry conditions take toll on parched cotton crops

By Elise Worthington, Tuesday January 22, 2013 - 10:10 EDT
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Conditions for southern inland cotton farmers have swung from flood to drought. - ABC

Farmers in Queensland's southern inland say hot, dry conditions have forced them to abandon cotton crops.

In February last year, a record-breaking flood inundated St George, causing millions of dollars worth of damage.

Now, cotton farmers in the town are praying for rain to save their crops.

Balonne Shire Mayor Donna Stewart says locals are hoping floodwaters from Chinchilla and Tara will flow down the Condamine River.

"That will probably be in almost a fortnight before we know if it is going to make it through or not," she said.

"It seems to be ... from flood to famine and they had bad impacts last year from the flood.

"A lot of farmers lost a lot of their cotton last year because of too much water and this year is just the opposite, they are ploughing it in because it is just too dry."

However, Ed Willis from the St George Cotton Growers Association says it is already too late for some.

"There's certainly going to be a reduced number of bails to be processed or ginned in the local shire, that will have an impact on the town," he said.

"It will have a marked effect on the shire, those bales won't be produced and growers will be unable to recoup the expenses that have already been paid for to grow a crop halfway through."

Level two water restrictions will be introduced next month if the dry weather continues.


© ABC 2013

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