BEAUTIFULLY timed rainfall in the second half of July and early this month, have improved the chances of another very good harvest in Western Australia with a total close to 20 million tonnes (Mt) still possible, according to the Grain Industry Association of WA’s (GIWA) crop report released today.
The previously dry areas of the state, particularly in the northern grainbelt, are on track for at least average grain yields and the areas that were less impacted from the dry July, are looking at above average grain yields.
The southern areas have gone from very good to a bit wet, which was the only dampener on the change in weather patterns over the last three weeks.
All grain crops are further advanced in growth stage than normal due to the very warm winter.
This has both an upside and a downside.
The upside is a greater percentage of the crop will be filling grain prior to the inevitable heat in the spring, reducing the chance of heat shock.
The downside is the crop will be exposed to a greater period of frost risk, and this is a growers’ greatest fear.
The cereal crops will be vulnerable to frost from now onward in the central and northern regions as many are already running up.
Many crops shed potential yield due to the below average rainfall in June and early July and do not have the bulk of 2021.
Fertiliser usage has come back a little this year due to the cost and the dry winter.
Coming off the back of very good grain yields in 2021 where nutrient reserves were exhausted and the season kicked on unexpectedly, crops are now looking underdone.
Whilst the top end potential is not there, the very large area of crop in the ground, and mostly in pretty good shape, means at least 20Mt could again be on the cards.
Disease, pest reports
The recent rainfall has brought with it an increase of leaf disease in cereals with powdery mildew in wheat and net blotch’s in barley requiring extra spring fungicide applications in most areas.
Sclerotinia in canola and lupins is also requiring control.
Insects are now building in numbers in the north and central regions and are also requiring control.
Additional data at hand confirms what many suspected, which is that there is a huge area of canola in the ground, somewhere just shy of 2 million hectares, mostly at the expense of lupins and oats.