THE effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy have one Boggabri cotton farmer concerned about the profitability of his crop.
Sixth-generation farmer Andrew Watson believes the effects of the coronavirus crisis could impact on farmers looking to sell their cotton overseas
"There is some concerns about the medium-term of our pricing and a bit of that will relate to some of the political movements around China," Mr Watson told the Leader.
"So that's a threat to me and the slow down of the world economy is a bit of a threat to medium-term prices for us on all of our products.
"To me, looking forward I am a little bit nervous, but the things I can influence, like making sure my crop goes in as well as it can and making sure I harvest as well as I can is all running pretty well. "
Mr Watson said despite the concerns over the global economy, he was enjoying a successful cotton harvest.
"By the end of March this year, we have already had more rain than we had all of last year," he said.
"Currently we have harvested about 80 per cent of our cotton and the cotton we have ginned so far is going both grades.
"Australia's base grade is at least one grade above the rest of the world and while we are happy with that, we are a grade below what we would normally get.
"In my view, that is due to the rain on open cotton, which makes it a little bit more grey and not as white as it could be."
Pursehouse Rural agronomist Matt Roseby echoed Mr Watson's sentiments, saying farmers had done well despite the testing climatic conditions.
"It's just been a difficult summer for growing cotton and while we have had some recent rain, it has been a terrible summer," Mr Roseby said.
"The heat we've had, lack of water allocations and a lot of crops weren't ready for when the cold weather change hit.
"I think it's really gone from one extreme to the next and with the rain on open crop, there could potentially be some downgrading."
In 2019, Mr Watson, through his property Kilmarnock, had forged a partnership with Australian fashion giant MJ Bale, which exclusively used his cotton to make its garments.
"We're not too sure how all of that is going during the pandemic, but they [MJ Bale] have been in touch pretty regularly," Mr Watson said.
"Last time I spoke to them, they had closed all of their shops and I suspect they are ramping up their online sales.
"We've certainly stayed in touch with them and while they have obviously really suffered from the effects of the COVID-19 shutdown, we're hopeful of continuing on with them going forward."
Mr Watson said once the cotton harvest was over he would turn his attention to his other winter crops.
"I am feeling quite confident at the moment about the chances of our winter crops," he said.
"We're currently halfway through planting our winter crop program, which consists of canola, bread wheat and durum wheat for pasta.
"So far, we have a beautiful full soil profile with great moisture and a wet six months or so predicted as well.
"So from that perspective, I think we are looking pretty good but we will still be working really hard to make sure we can control the things we can control."