Australian cotton industry update on flooding impact

*** UPDATE AS AT: Tuesday, 7th December 2021 ***


  • 300ha of cotton has been under flood water.
  • There is potentially some yield loss for the older cotton, some replant for the younger cotton.
  • There has been small amounts of infrastructure damage.
  • The rainfall has mainly been welcomed by growers, with 6,000 ha of irrigated cotton expected to be planted from this week onwards (weather depending) and 10,000ha (brown area) of dryland cotton to the north around Clermont and Kilcummin.
  • Dawson River is currently in flood, and the dam is now sitting at 26.4% and rising.
  • Ford, Retreat & Therese creeks are flooding (which misses the dam catchment) but it means those along the creeks and Nogoa and McKenzie river farmers can pick up that water.


  • About 130,000ML of water continues to go over Theodore weir.
  • The peak has not been reached, with the forecast being the peak will hit later this week.
  • There is hope this water will have time to move downstream and reduce the impact in the Theodore area.
  • Currently some low-lying fields are under water… not a huge area though.
  • It is hard to put a figure on the impact yet though, as the peak hasn’t hit.
  • Impacted paddocks will probably not be replanted, given how late in the season it is (mid-December is usually the cut off).
  • Yield will probably drop off as a result.
  • Small pockets of dryland cotton are still to be planted, depending on what the weather does (storms, cyclones etc).


  • Southern & Central Downs - approximately 5% of the crop has been lost to flood waters in low lying areas. Minimal planting expected from now on.
  • Dalby & Western Downs - approximately 2,000ha of cotton lost to flooding and water logging. Some growers are attempting to replant this area before mid-December.
  • Yields are expected to be below average due to the cool, cloudy La Nina weather patten.
  • All on-farm storages are full; Leslie Dam is full; and the Bjelke-Peterson Dam is now at 94.8% and rising.


  • There has been significant damage west of Goondiwindi and on the NSW side of the border.
  • Flood water is still inundating some places, and will be for next week.
  • There are reports of levy banks being damaged, and significant flooding on farm.


  • The main flood peak is along the Macquarie River at Warren, where major flooding continues.
  • Minor flooding is expected to continue at Wellington and Narromine, with maintained releases from Burrendong Dam and local tributary inflows.
  • Macquarie River at Dubbo is expected to remain below the minor flood level.
  • Releases from Burrendong Dam have increased from 35,000ML/day to 40,000ML/day to increase air space for further expected rain this week.
  • Macquarie River at Wellington Bridge is currently at 6.04 metres and steady, with minor flooding. It is expected to remain above the minor flood level (4.00 m) into this week.
  • The Macquarie River at Narromine is expected to remain above the minor flood level (5.50 metres) into this week.
  • The Macquarie River at Warren is currently around a peak of 9.45 metres and steady, with major flooding.
  • WaterNSW advises that DPIE Water has approved access to supplementary pumping and extraction in all sections of the Macquarie River downstream of Burrendong Dam to start from 9am 25th November 2021; the event will continue until further notice.
  • Cotton is looking ok, with pockets of flood damage west of Warren where the water is laying in fields. It is not likely to drain for some time, with increased flows from Burrendong Dam.
  • The cotton desperately needs some hot, dry weather.
  • Crops - canola is still ok and there have been no real reports of damage or loss of oil content; wheat is still ok at this stage with minimal shot & sprung reports; chickpeas is still ok.
  • West of Narromine, most wheat has been downgraded to AH9 or feed-quality wheat.
  • Approximately 20% of the crop is still to be harvested in the Narromine/Trangie area.
  • Rain and storms forecast for the rest of the week, with falls expected up to 50mm until Friday.


  • While plenty of winter cereals and pastures are under water around Forbes, approximately 150ha of cotton has been written off.
  • In Condobolin, only about 100ha of cotton has been written off.
  • Road access to farms has been the main issue.
  • There has been many reports of shot and sprung wheat as well.
  • Around Euabalong, there are some cereal/chickpea crops under water in low lying areas near the river (not widespread), but once again no cotton affected.
  • The flood peak should be going through on Tuesday (7/12/21).
  • There has also been some minor flooding between Darlington Point and Narrandera on the Murrumbidgee River – but once again no cotton has been affected.
  • While yields are good, the majority of cereals are shot and sprung.
  • Harvest looks to be drawn out, with plenty of rain delays. Many will still be going right up to and past Christmas.