Irrigated cotton planting in NSW is well underway, but a lack of rain has yet to 'fire up' dryland sowing.
Despite this, the industry expects 250,000 hectares of irrigated cotton (2.5 million bales) and a potential for 50,000ha of dryland if the rain comes.
"There is no dryland in yet, we need good rain to fire up the potential...there is a lot of interest in dryland, we will just have to wait and see what happens," said Cotton Australia CEO Adam Kay.
Mr Kay said while the forecast for cotton in NSW was a "bit down" on previous years, it was off the back of two record seasons.
In the north of the state, an influx of cold fronts passing through has damaged some of the seed germination.
Cotton Australia's northern regional manager, Alec Macintosh, said with total water allocations, irrigators would be planting with confidence.
With full water allocation, potential cotton planting in the Gwydir Valley could reach 55,000 hectares, while the Namoi Valley, including Walgett, Wee Waa, Narrabri and Gunnedah and on the Liverpool Plains, could be between 50,000ha and 55,000ha.
Mr Macintosh said the frequent passage of cold fronts had caused some damage to emerging crops.
Bureau of Meteorology figures indicate that November in the Narrabri district has had a cold start, with the temperature averaging 2.7 below the long-term average.
Through October, the minimum average to 9am was 11.4 degrees, almost one degree below the long-term average for the district.
There is a similar story for the Moree district, according to the BoM. The November average minimum is 15.4 degrees to date, a full one degree cooler than the long-term average.
Concurrently, the average high of 29 degrees was 1.9 degrees below the long-term average.
Dry ground and cooler conditions have delayed crop growth in the Macquarie Valley, but it is business as usual for growers in the area.
Delta Ag senior cotton agronomist Brett Cumberland said the full program had been sown with crops slowly getting out of the ground.
"We've been in the ground for about a month now on average, but crops are slow to emerge and then slow to get going due to the cool conditions," Mr Cumberland said.
Mr Cumberland said despite the slow start, things looked on track for a strong season.
At Deniliquin, Lachlan Danckert planted about 10 days earlier than last year, starting on September 26, with a hold-up with the rain in October.
Mr Danckert planted 662ha of 714 and 606 varieties, about 25 per cent more than usual, and after a wet season last year had some ground that needed renovating.
Hillston agronomist Pat McGuiness said growers were able to plant earlier than last year, and cooler temperatures had meant cotton was off to a slower start, but he expected nearly all those crops to be out of the ground by the end of last week.
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