Smaller crop area for South Australia
South Australia’s crop area is smaller than average at 3.8 million hectares. Production is estimated at 6.9 million tonnes due to the below average yield potential, a result of the dry autumn and early winter. In most areas of the State soil moisture reserves are low to moderate with only parts of the lower north, Yorke Peninsula and the south east having good reserves on the back of August rainfall.
Crop area sown has been reduced by 15 per cent on western Eyre Peninsula and 10 per cent on eastern Eyre Peninsula. Many farmers in the lower rainfall areas have reduced the area sown to canola and pulse crops because of the late break to the season and low reserves of soil moisture.
These crops were replaced with either barley, hay, sown or self-regenerating pasture. Even in some of the more reliable cropping areas, farmers have reduced the area sown to canola and lentils, with most replaced by barley. The germination of early-sown crops was staggered, particularly on heavier soils types, due to marginal soil moisture. Most crops have now fully emerged, although with variable stages of growth. All will benefit from recent falls of 25-50 mm, however, many are still only one hot September wind away from disaster.
In the past couple of months, I’ve attended several excellent GRDC updates across the state including Pinnaroo, Karoonda, Maitland and Riverton. The update at Pinnaroo focused on farm profitability and growers worked in groups to come up with the key issues affecting or likely to affect profitability in their region and that they would like GRDC to direct resources and research towards.
At time of writing, the Eyre Peninsula Field Days have just wound up at Cleve. Thanks to all those members and growers who called in to discuss the issues that are currently affecting them and how GrainGrowers can help. Special thanks to local National Policy Group member, Tristan Baldock, who gave up two days of his time to help out on the stand.