NEW South Wales-based Carroll Cotton Company is working through plans to construct a new $15.3-million cotton gin.
This facility will be constructed at Colly Blue, located south of Gunnedah, and will complement the company’s other relatively new gin, which was commissioned in 2021.
At full production, the Colly Blue gin will produce about 50,000 bales and 15,000 tonnes of seed each year.
One of the few family-owned, independent ginning operations in Australia, Carroll Cotton has been managed by the Davies family for over 25 years.
The proposal passed the development application process in May.
Carroll Cotton managing director Scott Davies said the company was working through design aspects of the project before finalising a construction start date.
“There is a fair amount of lead time with these projects,” Mr Davies said.
“We are ticking away in the background on the engineering aspects of it.”
The project will be constructed in stages, including temporary module storage, then a shed and gin followed by another module storage site.
Mr Davies said the gin would fulfill the future needs of the local cotton industry, which he believes has “room for further growth”.
“Typically, I would say that our irrigation is essentially capped, or the irrigation used on cotton is sort of utilised at this point in time, so it’s all around the rainfed cotton that we say that still has a significant way to grow.
“With that further growth, there is then a need for further processing capacity…and we want to continue to be able to provide those services.
“We are very much about supporting the local industry, and as farmers and growers continue to invest in their processes, we need to do the same.”
Liverpool Plains Shire Council Mayor Doug Hawkins OAM welcomed the new development.
“Projects like this one are a way we can value add to service what is produced by our local farmers and will promote strong economic growth,” Cr Hawkins said.
“This is a strong reflection of the calibre and suitability of this part of NSW as a hub for agricultural developments.”
Upgraded Carroll site
The Colly Blue proposal comes as Carroll Cotton completes its third season processing at its other new gin facility located at the village of Carroll.
The company commissioned the $20M new Carroll facility in 2021.
Mr Davies said the new gin effectively doubled the company’s output capacity and had the capacity to process 1100 bales per day.
“The plant has the capacity to further increase production another 50pc by bolting in new equipment.”
He said it was a lengthy process to research, plan and construct the site, which was also hampered by COVID-19 protocols.
Despite the delays, Mr Davies said the facility was working well to process local cotton crops.
Mixed season ahead
As growers surrounding the Carroll Cotton facilities prepare to plant the 2024 crop, Mr Davies said there will be a marked disparity between irrigated and rainfed hectares this season.
“Given that we see a significant proportion of, at times, of dryland we are sort of two inches [of rain] away from potentially a record season.
“However, it is not looking great.
“We’re on…a knife’s edge with regard to the dryland planting.”
He said irrigated crops should reap the benefits of full water allowances.
“Most of our growers use groundwater rather than out of the river system, there is significant reserves and carry overs from previous years, so we anticipate a full irrigation plant.”