Cotton quality comes up trumps

12 May, 2004

___The quality of the cotton crop picked so far has been rated better than expected in relation to leaf, colour, length, strength and micronaire._

Nick Mahony, General Manager, Australian Classing Services at Wee Waa, said that while only 33,000 bales had been classed from Central Queensland, the Macintyre Valley, Mungindi, Macquarie and Hillston areas, results in relation to quality were “very positive.”

He said only minor volumes had been classed at this stage from the Namoi and Gwydir Valleys and the Bourke region.

Speaking on the weekly CSD Web on Wednesday video, Mr. Mahony said most of the leaf has fallen within the two to three leaf range, with a very small percentage, generally dryland stripper picked, with higher leaf grades of four or five leaf.

On colour, he said 95 per cent has fallen within 21 or 31 colour grade, with two-thirds in the 21 grade.

“Strength so far has been quite good. We’ve seen 74 per cent above 30 grams per tex, while 20 per cent has fallen between 28 to 30 grams per tex. There’s been a few little patches of short stuff but nothing to worry about.

He said staple length had also been a big improvement, and micronaire results to date “absolutely fantastic.”

“The premium micronaire range, which is commonly referred to as 3.8 to 4.5, is where 73% of the cotton has fallen into, so it’s been a big change on the last three years. We have had a little bit of low micronaire that has shown up in Dryland, or crops that have run out of water, but that’s been a very small percentage.”

Mr. Mahony said the stand out region to date has been Hillston.

“They have had a really fantastic season down there. The colour and length is exceptional and the micronaire is perfect cotton in regards to classing. That’s a big change for Hillston, where we haven’t seen quality that good and that consistent for a few years. It’s probably the best quality year they’ve had to date.

“Other areas have also been quite positive. You would probably say they’re average to just above average to what you would expect. We’re very interested now to see how the Namoi Valley and the Gwydir come out in relation to quality,” he said.

He concluded that about 90 per cent or better of the crop classed so far would be base grade, but the season is late, and could be pushed out even later by further rain, hence it is still early days overall, but indications to date are that most of the cotton that has been picked should achieve base grade and better.

Further Information: *"Robert Eveleigh**, John Marshall, or Craig McDonald":showstaff.asp?staff=1