Rain falling today across Victoria is a promising forerunner to what the Bureau of Meteorology predicts will be widespread rains across much of the eastern Australia cropping zone over the next few days.
Rain forecast for Queensland’s Darling Downs on the weekend can’t come quickly enough for millet crops that have been struggling under hot, dry, windy conditions.
Maize plantings are significantly down this season as the crop competes with alternative options, such as cotton, for limited irrigation water allocations.
Removing summer weeds in the months after winter crop harvest will be one of the biggest contributors to improving water use efficiency, minimising soil nutrient losses and reducing disease carryover for 2019 crops.
Recent soaking rain in some summer-cropping areas, a buoyant price outlook, and adequate supplies of seed could see Australia plant its biggest ever mungbean area when the main summer planting window opens in December-January.
Large parts of WA are likely to be drier than average, along with western Tasmania and scattered parts of central Australia and Queensland which are likely to experience a drier-than-normal summer period, according to the Bureau of Meteorology’s latest climate outlook.
The importance of stored soil water comes to the forefront in seasons like this where, in the eastern farming zones, there has been little in-crop rain over winter followed by summer crop planting rain in those areas lucky enough to have received it.
A rain front that passed over the drought-affected cropping regions of New South Wales yesterday brought a degree of 11th-hour relief to struggling winter crops and helped kick along emerging summer crops.
Calculating soil moisture will be a critical consideration in summer crop planting decisions this season with wide spread rain continuing to prove elusive across large areas of Queensland and northern New South Wales.
Heatwave conditions across the New South Wales/Queensland cropping belt have triggered fire alerts for winter crop harvesters in the south and forced a pause in some summer cropping activities in the north.