(BN) Floodwaters May Threaten More Cotton in Queensland,

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Floodwaters May Threaten More Cotton in Queensland, Group Says
2011-01-04 08:17:06.735 GMT

By Wendy Pugh
Jan. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Flooding in Australia, the fourth-
largest cotton exporter, may threaten more crops in Queensland
state as rivers continue to swell and with further rain forecast
for growing regions.
The Balonne River is at risk of flooding crops at St George
as damage is assessed around Theodore and Emerald, where waters
are receding, Sydney-based Cotton Australia spokesman David Bone
said. The floodwaters at St George, where cotton crops were
inundated in March, may peak next week, according to the Bureau
of Meteorology.
Cotton futures surged to an all-time high last month on
speculation that global demand led by China will outpace supply.
Heavy rainfall may curb yield potential in Queensland state
after Cotton Australia said Dec. 8 that national output this
year may reach a record 4.2 million bales from 665,000 hectares
(1.6 million acres).
"It's still a big crop but it hasn't had the sun and heat
units to really get the yields and quality that everyone was
expecting," David Watson, senior advisor, markets at FCStone
Australia Pty, said by phone from Sydney. Production estimates
could be cut by about 200,000 bales by the wet weather, he said.
Cotton for March delivery gained as much as 1 percent to
$1.4366 a pound and was at $1.42 by 6:33 p.m. Melbourne time
after last year posting the biggest annual gain since 1973.
Planting of the Australian crop was completed last month
and harvesting will be from March to May.
PrimeAg Australia Ltd., a producer, estimated about 2,000
hectares, or 13 percent, of its 15,200 hectare cotton crop had
been inundated.

Damage Levels

"It will be at least a week before damage levels become
clear," PrimeAg Executive Chairman Peter Corish said in a
statement today to the Australian stock exchange. Some area
would be lost, while others may recover if plants were flooded
for less than two to three days, he said.
The company's farms at Goondiwindi, Moree and Gunnedah had
avoided any flooding and growing conditions for the summer crops
had been favorable, it said.
Cotton Australia's Bone left unchanged an estimate that
7,500 hectares had been destroyed, while the yield impact was
PrimeAg, based in Toowoomba, Queensland, fell 3.5 percent
to A$1.38, the lowest since Oct. 19, at the 4:10 p.m. Sydney-
time close on the Australian Stock Exchange.

More Rain

Parts of the cotton-growing region in northern New South
Wales and Queensland may receive up to 50 millimeters (2 inches)
of rain in the eight days ending Jan. 11, according to the
Bureau of Meteorology. The Balonne River at St George, located
about 500 kilometers (310 miles) inland from Brisbane, may peak
at more than 14 meters (46 feet) on Jan. 10 to Jan. 11, which
would be higher than flood levels in March, it said.
Yields on about 11,000 hectares in the St George and
Dirranbandi regions were threatened last March by flooding and
plants standing in water, according to Cotton Australia
estimates that month.
National cotton area may be 557,000 hectares this season,
the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and
Sciences said in a report Dec. 7., up from 208,000 hectares a
year earlier. Queensland was forecast to account for 41 percent
of the area.

For Related News and Information:
Top commodity stories: CTOP <GO>
Top agricultural stories TOP AGR <GO>
Most read Australian news: MNI AUD <GO>

--Editors: Richard Dobson, Jake Lloyd-Smith.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Wendy Pugh in Melbourne +61-3-9228-8736 or

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Richard Dobson at +86-21-6104-3030 or