Cotton Stories

Returns from cotton provide benefits in the drought for Texas grower

12 Sep 2019
Dennis Rush
Dennis Rush of Hopewood, near Texas, QLD

Returns from cotton provide benefits in the drought for Texas grower

Dennis Rush, who farms near Texas on the New South Wales-Queensland border around 100 km east of Goondiwindi, said introducing cotton onto the family’s ‘Hopewood’ property has helped them through the ongoing drought.

Dennis said his family have been on Hopewood for more than a century and have traditionally been cattle farmers with various fodders being the only cropping on the property over the past 100 years. 

In April last year, Dennis made the decision to try cotton for the first time, planting 208 hectares under centre pivots at the start of the 2018-19 season. At the time, the main driver for Dennis for introducing the crop was the price of cotton, and potential for returns.

Dennis said being able to forward-sell around half of this year’s cotton crop at well over $600 per bale was a great attraction.

“When you look at the gross returns (from cotton), there was really no other option.”

Dennis said most of the property is prone to flooding, and as a result, they have significant weed issues with nutgrass, castor oil plant and Bathurst burr, regularly brought in by floodwater.

“We’ve got a big opportunity to clean our country up through a cotton-based rotation,” said Dennis.

He said Roundup Ready® technology had helped smooth his move into row cropping.

“I’ve never been a (row crop) farmer but what I’ve found most comforting about the transition is that cotton is an easy crop to grow.”

Dennis has also been impressed with the sense of community within the cotton industry.

“The support has been brilliant, and I’ve known where we’ve been at the whole time throughout the season. And any time when I’ve been unsure about something, there’s always been someone I could contact.”

Dennis said he also valued the information available at field days, the 2018 Australian Cotton Conference and from his agronomist.

Dennis is hoping to harvest around 10 bales per hectare from his first crop, meaning an average gross margin of over $4,000 per hectare.

“To come out of a season with those returns, when many people are in dire situations because of the drought, is a massive bonus,” he said.