Australian Crop Report: December edition
Seasonal conditions were unfavourable in cropping regions in South Australia during spring. Winter crop prospects deteriorated in September because of lower than average September rainfall and significant frost events. September rainfall in most cropping regions was in the 10th percentile. The lowest average minimum temperatures on record for September occurred in many parts of the eastern Eyre Peninsula, the upper Yorke Peninsula, the mid to upper north, the Murray lands and the upper south east, which resulted in significant frost events.
Rainfall was below average and temperature above average during October in most eastern cropping regions, which decreased soil moisture levels and hampered grain development. Timely October rainfall benefitted crops in some other cropping regions, especially Eyre Peninsula, Yorke Peninsula and the south east. November rainfall has slowed harvest but is not expected to result in significant degradation of crop quality. According to the latest rainfall outlook issued by the Bureau of Meteorology on 29 November 2018, above average December rainfall is likely in western cropping regions.
Winter crop production in South Australia is forecast to decrease by 25% in 2018–19 to around 5.2 million tonnes, the lowest since 2008–09.
Winter crop area in South Australia is estimated to have fallen by around 5%, largely because some area planted to cereal crops for gain production was cut for hay. The main regions in which this occurred were in the upper Eyre Peninsula, upper Yorke Peninsula, lower to mid north, southern Mallee and upper south east.
Wheat production is forecast to fall by 30% in 2018–19 to 2.9 million tonnes. Forecast production is the lowest since 2008–09. The expected fall in production is largely due to lower yields in northern cropping regions, which drove a 25% decline in the state wide average yield.
Barley production is forecast to decrease by 15% in 2018–19 to 1.5 million tonnes. Area is estimated to have increased by 3%, even after some area planted for grain production was cut for hay.
Canola production is forecast to fall by 22% in 2018–19 to 250,000 tonnes, largely due to a 20% decline in planted area. Less area was planted at the beginning of the season and some of this was cut for hay.
Table 10 Winter crop forecasts, South Australia, 2018–19.
Note: Yields are based on area planted.