Monday, 20 July 2015

Riverina cotton

Around Hay the land is flat, very flat, and there are large areas of saltbush country.

But it is also perfect for irrigation.

It's winter, so not the growing season, but as we drove on the roads near Hay we couldn't miss the fact that cotton growing is a major activity. There are cotton bolls lining the highways, debris from carting the large yellow rolls of cotton to central storage areas after harvest. I know cotton is an organic product but I wonder how long it takes to disintegrate. One plus might be that bird nests in the area will have soft linings.

Cotton debris littering the sides of roadways.
The hundreds of large cotton rolls are wrapped in bright yellow plastic. Is that plastic recycled?

Rolls of cotton
And there are 'turkey dams' everywhere - large dams that perch on the flat landscape, that must take an enormous amount of effort and resources to build. In my area the local water authority is closing shallow water storages because they are inefficient, the water evaporates too quickly. So why are they building shallow dams for cotton irrigation? I'll have to do some research.

So I'm morally torn today. In my hobby of patchwork quilting I only use cotton fabrics. In summer I love wearing cotton because it it so cool. But as I drive through the cotton-growing area I'm feeling a bit negative about how we grow the cotton.

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