Cotton is a natural fibre and the most used textile fibre in the world. It is currently grown in more than 100 countries.
Australia is one of the world’s largest exporters of cotton. More than 90% of cotton produced in Australia is exported.
Currently, 98% of cotton grown in Australia is genetically modified (GM).
GM cotton varieties have helped the Australian cotton industry reduce pesticide use by 95% since 1993.
Cotton production in the NT
Cotton production is an emerging industry in the Northern Territory (NT). There are six growers in the market.
In 2019 and 2020, 800 hectares of cotton was grown in the NT across six properties in the Katherine and Top End regions.
Eighty per cent of the total area was rain-fed. Rain-fed farming, also known as dryland farming, uses rainfall as the primary water source.
It’s expected that 80% of future cotton farming in the NT will use rain-fed cropping systems.
The remaining 20% will likely be supplemented by irrigation where adequate water resources are already allocated and matched to suited soils.
Cotton trials in the NT
Cotton trials are being carried out at the Katherine Research Station.
These trials are growing Bollgard3 cotton and use modern agriculture science and technology.
Combined, these methods greatly reduce the use of chemicals and water.
Find out more about the cotton trials on the Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade website.