Southern Cotton Gin

Photo Credit: Nathan Dyer
Photo Credit: Nathan Dyer
Photo Credit: Nathan Dyer

Alongside its reputation as the food bowl of Australia, the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area (MIA) also helps to put the cotton shirt on Australia’s back. The region is a major producer of cotton, with over 100 local growers producing some of the finest cotton in the world using world leading irrigation technology.

Australia exports over 90% of its cotton crop every year, particularly to Asian markets who value our cotton for its colour, strength, fibre length and lack of contamination because of our high-tech production practices. The MIA produces roughly 20% of Australia’s cotton.

While Australia produces only about three per cent of the global cotton crop, our cotton is regarded as among the best in the world. In a typical year, Australia’s cotton growers produce enough cotton to clothe 500 million people.  With reliable water supplies from the MIA, and with innovative cropping, irrigation and seed technology, the local cotton industry has boomed as more farmers ‘cotton on’ to the benefits of cotton farming.

The local crop has more than doubled from 18,000 hectares in 2011 to 44,000 hectares in 2016. It is a summer crop — that is, it is planted in spring (mid- September through to the end of November) and harvested in the autumn (early March through to late May).

In 2011, the village of Whitton was the site for the development of a new local cotton business, Southern Cotton, and its gin. Opened in 2012, it is an independently owned ginning facility that has processed more than 900,000 bales to date, and is a major employer in the region. Now up to 100 local growers use the gin to process their crops.

Take a spin around the Gin

Southern Cotton's informative and engaging tours are designed to educate growers, tourists, students and other visitors about the local cotton industry, as well as the cotton ginning process.

From when the bales are brought in, cleaned and packed ready to ship out, Southern Cotton's specially-built observation walkways allow visitors to witness these stages first-hand in a safe environment. You could also see our two enormous yellow moon buggies in action!

Our gin tours are available at 10am on weekdays during ginning season (approximately May-September). Advanced tour group bookings are essential. Cost is $10 per person. Phone 02 6955 2755.