Sowing success a mixed bag across eastern states
By Alistair Murphy
28th July, 2022
As we speed along into August, the New South Wales crop continues to emerge and progress in a very mixed fashion. Earlier sown crops are powering away and, in some instances, looking similar to last year, where other areas that were largely late sown due to excessive rainfall are well behind what we would expect crops to look like at this stage of the year.
Northern New South Wales has enjoyed a relatively dry run over the last few weeks which has allowed growers to finally make some solid progress on getting final acres in as well as resowing patch up jobs. Although the percentage of winter sown acres has increased to more comfortable levels, a sizable percentage of these acres have been planted outside of what is considered to be the ideal planting window. A soft spring with milder temperatures is needed here to maximize the potential of these later sown crops, but even with an ideal finish we would expect some yield penalties in comparison to earlier sown crops.
Central New South Wales hasn’t been able to make the same late progress as their northern counterparts as there had been another solid rain event in the last three weeks. Growers with unsown areas are looking at options presently and it’s not an easy one tossing up whether to late sow winter barley, leave for opportunistic summer crop or long fallow into next year’s winter crop. No doubt it will be a combination of all three, but we will know more in the coming weeks and months.
Victoria’s crops on the other hand continue their extremely impressive run. Winter crop acres went in on time without too much hassle due to wet weather, and have received multiple timely in crop rain events which is setting up for a big one down south. It’s still early days from a cropping perspective and anything can happen but current projections with a normal finish would result in yields significantly above average in this part of the world.
Whilst New South Wales production is expected to be lower versus the last few years, the increase in production in the southern states has the potential to be more than a comfortable offset.
On the international front, overseas markets have continued to weaken after Russia and Ukraine signed a deal to reopen Black Sea ports for grain exports. International markets had been softening on expectations that a deal was in the pipeline and that trend has continued now the agreement has been formalized.
On a lighter note, as former farming contractor myself I’m acutely aware the of beer carton ledger system that accumulates for every bogged event and/or operator error event. Given the magnitude of the wet sowing window forcing farmers to take the risk in order to sow as much country as possible, it would be interesting to see the brewers demand data if there was any non-traditional spot increase in sales over the course of the last few months as a result.
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