Australia’s cropping conditions mixed: GPA

  • Market: Agriculture
  • 20/05/24

Australia's cropping regions show an imbalance as the winter crop planting period progresses, according to the Grain Producers Australia (GPA) latest 2024 season update.

The report, which collected perspectives from GPA representatives in different cropping regions, revealed how dryness in Western Australia (WA) and Southern Australia (SA) is in contrast to favourable soil moisture and rainfall levels in the east Australia cropping regions of Queensland, New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria.

WA growers are continuing to dry sow crops awaiting a significant rainfall event or "break" to germinate their crops. While some rain had fallen in May, most of the WA grain belt remains dry.

Planting decisions in WA were influenced by the lack of rainfall, anticipated yields and future prices, according to the GPA report.

Some growers are considering reducing their canola crop as the future price per tonne was unappealing, while others had already cut back their intended crop because of a dry rainfall outlook until June and the cost of canola seed. Others have withheld canola planting as they wait for a material seasonal break.

These perspectives are consistent with the Grain Industry Association of Western Australia's May crop report that projected canola area in 2024 would be down overall from 2023 because of dry conditions.

The GPA report also stated anxiety among WA growers were heightened because of a relatively poor season last year, along with the ability of some growers to diversify income streams with a government decision to ban live sheep exports by May 2028.

Northern and central western NSW had good rainfall and a positive start to the season, while growers in southern NSW were looking for rain to germinate dry sown crops.

Victoria has good soil moisture for seeding, although one GPA member said access to some fertilisers was an issue for growers who wanted it on hand for winter.

Queensland has had wet weather for its summer crop harvest. The sorghum harvest period, usually finished during February–March, according to GPA, was disrupted by heavy rainfall around Easter. This reduced crop quality and could potentially delay winter crop planting, according to a GPA member. The US Department of Agriculture crop calendar for Queensland indicates the typical planting period for winter crops of barley and wheat is May and April-July respectively.


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