Cotton producers around the nation have an added spring in their step after a week of El Nino-defying rain across the cotton belt that has revitalised seasonal prospects.
Cotton Australia officials are now optimistic that a national crop of 4.5 million bales could be on the cards, with further upside possible if conditions for the rest of the growing season remain good.
This came after a poor, dry start to the season meant there were fears the crop could slide under 4m bales, a significant fall from the 2022-23 season's record of 5.5m bales.
"It's been a game-changer," said Macintyre River Cotton Growers Association treasurer Nigel Corish.
"We're now up to around 120mm all up around Goondiwindi and there is the potential for more over the next week," he said.
"It is the most significant rain event since October last year and has certainly changed the thinking about cotton and the summer crop more generally."
"We'll need every bit of that 120mm given how dry it has been beforehand but there will be further irrigated cotton plantings and probably a bit of a split in the dryland space between cotton and sorghum."
Further to the south Rob Eveleigh, Lower Namoi Cotton Growers Association, said the falls in his area had not been quite as significant as elsewhere but added tallies of 40-60mm had created optimism.
"People have got crop in the ground, there is scope for a good dryland plant as there was a patchy winter crop, with some areas not planted, so people are looking to generate an income with a summer crop," he said.
"The rain has been good, people have been able to get back out into the paddock pretty quickly afterwards and get going."
"We're feeling a lot better about things than we were a couple of weeks ago, it had been dry and also quite cool which was causing issues, hopefully now we see a good pattern of summer rain developing."
"Allocations are relatively good for irrigation so we're not too badly placed, especially given where we were a month ago."
A Cotton Australia spokesperson said the rain will assist existing crop prospects in southern valleys such as the Murrumbidgee, Murray and Lachlan Valleys where farmers are unlikely to plant further crop due to the longer season required in the more temperate conditions.
Earlier planted crops have struggled with the cool and dry conditions, failing to get the necessary radiation for optimum growth, with some replanting required, although in some parts the crop is in good health.
September and early October sown crops in the southern valleys struggled due to an unseasonably high number of cold shock nights, in spite of relatively mild day time temperatures, however there are also pockets with good yield potential.
"There are good allocations of water and the summer outlook is OK so growers there are reasonably happy with how they are sitting," the CA spokesperson said.
The turnaround has extended into the Central Queensland cotton growing region.
In spite of relatively low reservoir levels and water allocations, falls of over 100mm in parts have lessened the reliance of irrigation water and have bolstered seasonal prospects.