Cropping

Pulse Australia forecasts chickpea crop at dismal 300,000t

Liz Wells, August 2, 2018
A DIRE season in northern New South Wales and much of southern Queensland has prompted Pulse Australia to forecast production from Australia’s chickpea crop now in the ground at 300,000 tonnes, around one third the size of last year’s crop.

Chickpea crops like this one in Central Queensland are the best to be found in Australia this winter.

“We have pegged the desi chickpea crop at around 220,000t, and the kabuli crop grown in southern NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia at a relatively large 80,000t,” Pulse Australia chief executive officer, Nick Goddard said.

“From here, there is no upside in chickpea numbers.”
Timely rains needed to enable a large-scale planting of winter crop in northern NSW and southern Queensland failed to eventuate in many areas, and chickpeas which were planted have established themselves in most cases on subsoil moisture alone, due to the seed’s ability to germinate from depth.
A dry growing season to date will, however, limit the crop’s yield potential, and Central Queensland (CQ) is seen as the best of Australia’s three growing areas.
Its fair-to-average crop of chickpeas has benefited from April-June rainfall, which other areas largely missed out on.
“CQ chickpeas still require quite a bit of rain to achieve the yield we have projected. “
Mr Goddard this season has been” highly challenging for pulse growers, with late (or in some cases no) break severely impacting crop prospects. The one exception is Central Queensland where stored subsoil moisture and some April-June rain is resulting in a . The Darling Downs and Northern NSW  have suffered badly from the lack of rainfall, with few, if any crops, as far south as the lower Central West of NSW.
“The poor spring rainfall prospects have led us to assume next to nil production, particularly in NSW’s producing areas, namely the Liverpool Plains, Narrabri north to the Queensland border, and anywhere west of the Newell Highway.”

Beyond chickpeas

From the Southwest slopes of NSW to the Victorian border, prospects are better, although geographically patchy with this area receiving on 20-50% of average rainfall this season.

“The late break, combined with cold weather and frosts down to  -6 degrees, has further delayed crop progress.”

In Victoria, occasional showers on crops in the Mallee and Wimmera districts have delivered small amounts of rain, but enough to sustain crops from establishment to now, and good falls over the past week have been very welcome.”

In South Australia, the situation is similar, with the Lower Eyre Pensinsula and South East the most promising to date, and Mid North and Yorke Peninsula crops having an average season, and are in danger of suffering stress through limited subsoil moisture and a lack of recent rain.

Crops on the Upper Eyre Peninsula and in the Mallee are already suffering moisture stress.

Western Australia had a dry start to the season, but has since had sufficient rain in some areas to enable crops to develop.

Rainfall has been sporadic and in pockets, rather than steady and widespread.

The Esperance zone is unusually dry, and this will limit its lentil production this year.

 

State Chickpeas Field peas Faba/broad beans Lentils Lupins TOTAL
QLD 217300 0 0 0 0 217300
NSW 22200 33200 12500 2600 50000 120500
VIC 46000 80050 70500 135000 31000 362350
SA 15900 149350 127300 199300 48000 539850
WA 8200 39000 6000 10000 410000 473200
National 309600 301600 216300 346900 536000 1713400

Pulse production estimates. Source: Pulse Australia

 

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