THEY may be the largest irrigated cotton farm in the Southern Hemisphere but not even Cubbie Station were left unscathed by this season’s dry hot summer.
Balonne crops were affected by consecutive days of over 40C temperatures that failed to let up from Christmas.
The high irrigation season has seen below average yields for many growers including Cubbie Station.
The 80,000 hectare property sees 19,000 hectares used for irrigated farming with harvested cotton going to the onsite Cubbie Ginnery which received a plant upgrade this year.
Contract harvesters are three quarters of the way through harvest with the final 20 per cent to be completed by May 11.
When the opportunity exists, Cubbie also plant cover crops of wheat and chickpeas.
CEO Paul Brimblecombe said this year they were producing yields of approximately 11 bales per hectare, down on previous seasons.
“It’s definitely been affected by the heat,” he said.
“We are happy with the yields considering the season we have had.”
Many growers in the area who thought they were capitalising by planting on good winter rain fell short of their final waters but Cubbie adjusted their planting schedule ahead of time.
“We only grow what we have irrigation for so we reduced our area and were on the cautious side once the long term rainfall range went from above average to below average in mid-December,” Mr Brimblecombe said.
He said looking ahead Cubbie just wanted to maximise production.
About 1200 bales are processed at the gin each day.
Ginnery general manager Kelvin Bella said 35 to 37 per cent of cotton processed in the ginnery was from local customers.
A group of 80 people visited Cubbie Station last Friday as part of the Great Escape tour which also took in the annual Dirranbandi Show.