Cotton Australia represents the biosecurity interests of cotton producers and the industry. They are members of Plant Health Australia and signatories to the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed. Their responsibilities include:

  • biosecurity planning and implementation at the national and farm levels
  • liaising with federal and state governments on trade issues
  • funding and supporting biosecurity initiatives
  • participating in national committees and response efforts in an emergency.

Industry overview

Approximately 60 per cent of the national crop is grown in New South Wales, with the remainder grown in Queensland and a small number of fields in Victoria. Cotton is predominantly grown as an annual irrigated summer crop, with rain-grown cotton representing approximately 20 per cent of the total planted area.

Although a relatively small producer on the world scale, Australia sustainably produces high quality, low contaminant cottons that attract a premium price on the world market. Australian cotton yields are high by international standards, at nearly three times the world average.

The Cotton Industry Biosecurity Group meets annually to discuss biosecurity issues and to make sure industry’s responsibilities under the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed are met each year.

Cotton IBP coverBiosecurity Plan for the Cotton Industry

Biosecurity planning provides a mechanism for the cotton industry, government and other relevant stakeholders to assess current biosecurity practices and future biosecurity needs. Planning identifies procedures that can be put in place to reduce the chance of pests reaching our borders or minimise the impact if a pest incursion occurs.

The Biosecurity Plan for the Cotton Industry outlines key threats to the industry, risk mitigation plans, identification and categorisation of exotic pests and contingency plans. For a copy, please contact PHA on 02 6215 7700 or email

Cotton Biosecurity ManualFarm Biosecurity Manual for the Cotton Industry

The Farm Biosecurity Manual for the Cotton Industry contains information to help producers to implement biosecurity on-farm. Manuals usually contain an overview of biosecurity, fact sheets to identify the high priority pests of a crop, tips on crop management, and how to manage people, vehicles and equipment to minimise biosecurity risks. Manuals also contain a biosecurity self-assessment list, and templates to record pest surveillance records and visitors.

More information about on-farm biosecurity for both plant and livestock producers is available from the Farm Biosecurity website.

Cotton PostcardPostcard

Promotional item to support the exotic plant pest hotline 1800 084 881

Exotic pests (not in Australia)

The following is a list of high priority exotic pests of cotton. These pests were identified during the development of the Biosecurity Plan for the Cotton Industry in consultation with industry, government and scientists. They have been assessed as high priority pests based on their potential to enter, establish, and spread in Australia (eg environmental factors, host range, vectors) and the cost to industry of control measures.

PHA has a range of fact sheets, contingency plans and diagnostic protocols relevant to these pests. Pest risk review documents are also available for some pests. Please contact PHA on 02 6215 7700 or email for more information.

Endorsed National Diagnostic Protocols are available from the National Plant Biosecurity Diagnostic Network webpage.

Common name Scientific name EPPRD Category Fact sheet Contingency plan Diagnostic protocol
Bacterial blight (Angular leaf spot) Xanthomonas citri subsp. malvacearum 3 FS
Brown-marmorated stink bug Halyomorpha halys FS FS FS CP
Cotton aphid Aphis gossypii (exotic strains) FS
Cotton blue disease Luteovirus (suspected) FS FS
Cotton boll weevil Anthonomus grandis 3 FS CP
Cotton boll worm Helicoverpa armigera carrying Bt resistance alleles
Cotton leaf curl disease Cotton leaf curl virus (Begomovirus) 3 FS FS
Cotton stainer Dysdercus spp including American species D. honestus, D. maurus, D. suturellus
False codling moth Thaumatotibia leucotreta syn Cryptophlebia leucotreta 2 FS CP
Fusarium wilt Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. vasinfectum (exotic races) FS FS
Silverleaf whitefly Bemisia tabaci (MEAM1) (exotic strains) FSFS
Tarnished plant bug Lygus lineolaris FS FS FS CP
Texas root rot Phymatotrichopsis omnivora (syn Phymatotrichum omnivorum) 2 FS FS
Verticillium wilt Verticillium dahliae (exotic defoliating strains) 3 FS
Western plant bug Lygus hesperus FS

Other pests

The following is a list of documents for other exotic and endemic pests of the cotton industry. Please note that this is not a complete list of pests: rather it includes pests for which documents exist in the Pest Information Document Database.

Some of the documents presented here are not tailored to the cotton industry and are included for information only.

Common name Scientific name EPPRD Category Fact sheet Contingency plan Diagnostic protocol
American serpentine leaf miner Liriomyza trifolii FS FS FS CP
Bakanae Gibberella fujikuroi CP
Blue-striped nettle grub Parasa lepida FS
Cassava spider mite Tetranychus truncatus FS
Grey pineapple mealybug Dysmicoccus neobrevipes FS
Spongy moths Lymantria dispar and Lymantria mathura FS FS FS CP
Indian green jassid Amrasca devastans FS FS
Melon thrips Thrips palmi FS
Omnivorous leaf roller Platynota stultana FS
Pacific spider mite Tetranychus pacificus FS
Panicle blight Burkholderia glumae CP
Papaya mealy bug Paracoccus marginatus FS CP
Strawberry spider mite Tetranychus turkestani FS
Tarnished plant bug Lygus lineolaris FS FS FS CP
Tomato leaf miner (Liriomyza bryoniae) Liriomyza bryoniae FS CP CP
Vegetable leaf miner Liriomyza sativae 3 FS FS FS FS FS FS CP
Western flower thrips Frankliniella occidentalis FS