Continuing drought conditions are likely to slash the size of 2007's cotton crop, Namoi Cotton Co-operative Ltd said today (10 October) as it reported an 11% drop in first half profits.

The New South Wales-based company posted a net profit after tax and rebate of AUD24m (US$17.8m) for the half-year ended 31 August 2006, compared with the previous half-year's result of AUD26.9m.

The company expects production in the 07 season to fall by around 38% to around 1.6m bales, primarily due to low prices and continuing drought conditions.

"The northern and western regions of New South Wales, along with the southern regions of Queensland, are most severely affected with water availability at critically low levels," Namoi said in a statement.
 
Namoi forecasts a full-year profit of AUD11-13m before rebate for the full year to February 2007, compared with AUD14.8m for the year to February 2006.

The company said it expects to gin and market approximately 475,000 bales of cotton in 2007 fiscal year, down from 678,000 this year.