SA winter crop forecast at 8.8Mt: PIRSA

Grain Central, August 22, 2023

A crop of barley planted late July on SA’s Upper Eyre Peninsula shows above average yield potential. Photo: Tim Larwood, Buckleboo

SOUTH Australia is forecast to produce a winter crop of 8.8 million tonnes (Mt) in the upcoming harvest, down 33 percent on last year’s record 12.8Mt, according to Primary Industries and Regions SA’s latest Crop and Pasture Report.

Released today and with conditions current as of July 14, the report focuses on crop establishment, and puts the total winter crop at 3pc above the five-year average to 2022-23 of 8.5Mt.

“With crops now established, grain production for 2023-24 is estimated to be 8.8Mt, based on the core assumption that crop yields will be close to the 10-year average,” the report said.

The production forecast comes following average rainfall for many areas of SA during April, May and June, which has enabled a strong start to the cropping season, and good progress into mid-July.

“However, the rainfall outlook for late winter and spring remains a concern for growers.”

The report charts a gradual reduction in barley area at the expense of wheat, with declines seen every year since 2019-20, when 990,000ha of barley was planted, up  20 to the estimated 839,500ha of this year.

“There is also a slight increase expected in lentil area across the state as more growers explore this crop as a rotation option.”

The report said good subsoil moisture levels have helped offset concern over the forecast for a drier late winter and spring associated with an El Niño Alert, and frost is also of concern given the crops’ solid progress to mid-July.

“Warm conditions in late May and early June have accelerated crop development, heightening frost risk for early sown crops in some districts.”

PIRSA notes seeding has occurred over a wide window this season, with several districts experiencing a dry period during May that slowed progress before conditions got wet during June.

“Tight urea supplies are concerning growers and may restrict preferred nutrition programs in the coming months.

PIRSA has also noted slugs as a significant problem in some districts and despite strong baiting programs, they have caused establishment issues in canola.

“Early reports of wheat powdery mildew in some areas have growers on alert, but no stripe rust has been reported.

“Mice populations remain at low-moderate  levels but have not caused widespread damage at this point.”

Area and production estimates for South Australia’s main crops from 2018-19 to 2023-24.

Source: PIRSA



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