Let the seeding begin

Peter McMeekin, Nidera Australia April 26, 2017


Nidera Australia, Peter McMeekin

ANZAC Day has just passed and, historically, across many parts of Australia, that signals the opening of the winter crop planting window. Soil moisture profiles are quite variable from state to state, but there are certainly many parts of the country with sufficient moisture to commence planting. Of course, there are many growers these days who simply plant by the calendar, and this week will see the flag drop for many in that category.

Cyclone Debbie hit the Queensland coastline in the last week of March, tracking inland and providing quite timely and beneficial rain for almost all of that state’s cropping regions. Most parts of central and southern Queensland received upwards of 75 millimetres, a much need moisture boost after an uncharacteristically dry summer. Save for a few storms, the tap turned off in Queensland at the end of October last year, which culminated in no sorghum crop in central Queensland and significantly reduced crop in southern Queensland.

Canola seeding has commenced in many parts of NSW over the past week. The eastern parts of the cropping zone have seen reasonable rainfall registrations over the past six weeks and much of the canola is going into moisture. Even those regions with a dry top soil are sowing dry in the knowledge that the next rainfall event should join up the moisture. West of the Newel Highway, particularly north of Dubbo, the moisture profile is patchy and many growers will be happy to wait for the next rainfall event to start the winter plant.

The rain system that ridged down from the Kimberley and across central Australia brought with it some welcome rains for many parts of South Australia and most of Victoria last week. All of the northern and western parts of Victoria had at least 25mm with many parts of the Mallee recording falls upwards of 50mm. Many Mallee growers, still on a high after record crops last year, are facing almost ideal sowing conditions to start the 2017 campaign.

Across the border in South Australia it is all about marrying up the good sub-soil moisture profile resulting from the numerous harvest rainfall events, and subsequent mild summer, with a good widespread autumn rain event. Some regions received that rain last week, but it was a little sporadic with parts of the Yorke Peninsula and most of the southern reaches of the Eyre Peninsula largely missing out.

The first quarter of 2017 has been wetter than normal across much of Western Australia’s cropping regions and like South Australia, it is about the moisture from a good autumn break meeting the above average sub-soil moisture profile. Many pundits are forecasting a significant increase in canola plantings across the state this season, primarily at the expense of oats and barley. Many parts of the state have actually finished their canola seeding program, with some going into moisture and some sown dry.

Nidera Australia became a member of the COFCO International Group, story here.

Source: Nidera Australia. Peter McMeekin is Nidera Australia’s origination manager.


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