Cotton Crop
Cotton Crop

Balonne River flows “have turned everything around”

COTTON growers of St George are rejoicing, as more water makes its way down the Balonne River.

For years, they have been struggling through the drought to keep their crops alive; and as the river level has come up, so has their outlook on the years ahead.

St George Cotton Growers Association president Drew Knights told the Balonne Beacon that more water means local irrigators can access their allocations, and more crops will go in the ground.

"This has pretty much turned everything around," he said.

"While we won't be planting anything right away, we will be putting in irrigated cereal crops like barley this winter, and use the water for our cotton next year.

"It has definitely changed everyone's outlook; yes, we do need that local rainfall, but the majority of irrigation farmers rely on the flows in the river.

"This has given us a brighter outlook for the next 12 months."

With better crops set to go in this year and next, Mr Knights said the river rise will have flow-on effects which will be felt around the region for some time.

In part, it will be due to the increase in work around the region, as growers get their planned crops in the ground.

"The casual workers come back to town because the cotton gin will be in full swing next year, and then it will go to even more locals," he said.

"People working around the areas will be chasing fuel, parts, mechanics, you name it.

"It is all in that flow on effect, really."

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