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Cotton demand driving Tandou jobs

Thursday, 17th February, 2011

But with cotton fetching record prices and an abundance of cheap water Tandou is now looking for people, including a gin shift supervisor, a workshop mechanic and an agronomist.

Tandou's chief executive officer, Guy Kingwill, said he also needed workers on a long-term basis as the company readied itself to plant another, bigger crop later this year.

"There will be an extra 15 (people) for the ginning in April and on farm there are 30 ... so we are looking at between 45 and 50 in April," Mr Kingwill said.

Preparations for the next crop, which is estimated to be 60 per cent bigger than this year's at 6,500 hectares, have been held up due to rain.

"The place is looking fabulous at the moment ... but the tractors can't get in the fields," Mr Kingwill said.

Despite some wet paddocks and roads, he said the rain, cooler temperatures and higher humidity had not caused the farm too many problems.

"We've been very fortunate. From a crop perspective we've had minimal impact," Mr Kingwill said.

"The more moderate climate has been better for us than the hot weather. It's been very good."

Tandou made the decision to plant 4,000 hectares of cotton last year after it received 100 per cent of its high and general security Lower Darling River water entitlements following good and then flooding rain upstream.

The price had also fallen out of the water market, making it more efficient to grow a crop than to sell and buy water.

But Mr Kingwill said no one could have anticipated the skyrocketing cotton price, now at US$1.90 per bale - a level not seen since the American Civil War - which has been put down to a worldwide shortage.

"Prices don't double if it's not a global issue."

Mr Kingwill said the crop would be ready for harvest in April with ginning, where the cotton lint is removed from the seed, cleaned and then bailed, to take around four months to complete.

But with the bigger crop workers would be needed most of the time.
"We will be ginning almost all year round - the farm would almost be at capacity."

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