While the gloom deepens surrounding the winter crop’s prospects in north-west NSW, rain this week along with forecast falls expected to continue into next week will improve crop chances in southern Australia, particularly in dry western South Australia.
In Western Australia there is a marked difference in crop prospects between southern and northern areas.
Ray Marshall, Grain Producers Australia board member, said southern parts of the State generally remained in fair to good condition, but in northern and eastern grain growing regions the season remains dry.
Ben Noll, with ADM in South Australia, said prospects were mixed, but added recent rain was useful.
Areas to the east of Adelaide are going nicely but the big news has been the revival in the fortunes of the Eyre and Yorke Peninsula crops.
After a parched start to the season, there have been good falls in recent weeks, culminating with 30mm in parts of the northern EP this week.
While some crops have already sustained yield loss due to the slow start, the rain gives other paddocks a fighting chance of achieving average yields, although that will be heavily reliant on in-crop rainfall.
In Victoria, farm leaders gathered in Melbourne this week said the crop was generally in a premium state for this time of the year.
The concern centres on the far north-west, where farmers are anxiously watching the results of a rain band currently crossing the state, with conditions turning dry after near-ideal planting conditions.
Around 5-10mm has fallen over the Millewa region to date.
Delegates at this week’s Australian Grains Industry Conference (AGIC) in Melbourne said the NSW crop was the major talking point at present.
While there were some isolated patches of the northern Riverina and Central West that received good falls last week, such as Lake Cargelligo, in general conditions have been unseasonably warm.
Combined with a lack of rainfall, it has many concerned for the prospects of all crops to the north and west of a line around Forbes.
Forecast falls for the Central West and north-west NSW for the next week are generally for 5-15mm – which will keep prospects in a holding pattern, not being enough to secure the crop in the long term but enough to keep them alive for now.
In Queensland, the Darling Downs is looking for some rain, although the situation is generally better than in northern NSW.