The continuing “dry” period in the Central Highlands following the cotton crop planting has created a conundrum for irrigators hoping for in crop rainfall to relieve high water use. Ironically, the dry conditions have also provided a near perfect set of growing conditions for the crop and growers are seeing good plant establishment and growth going into the summer. Emerald Land and Cattle co principal Kerry Hayes said that growers are deliberating whether to hold off on buying additional allocation and gambling on seasonal storms rather than adding the extra cost to the crop or to capitalise on the good crop set and buying water to ensure that there is no water stress at the critical fruit set.
Trading has slowly crept upwards from $120 per megalitre with recent trades at $140.
We have Sellers of water allocation on the other side of the trade who are waiting for a premium price and who also know the market may settle back if there are general falls in the growing areas, so it really is a tricky part of the water trading cycle.
Mr Hayes said that he expects that if rainfalls are light and the heat continues then conceivably prices will exceed $150 per megalitre but in the event of good general falls it will slip back to $100.