Mother Nature: Friend or foe
By Matt Wallis
11th July, 2023
The production outlook for the East Coast Cropping belt has been boosted with favourable conditions seen month to date with majority of SA, Vic and SNSW receiving welcomed rainfall for July on top of what was already an above average rainfall month in June.
The anecdotal feedback today is suggesting that South Australia, Victoria and Southern New South Wales are on track to yield a better than average crop again for the upcoming season. However, taking the shine off the overall yield potential was the dry May and lower than average days of sunlight to date, both hindering crop growth. In fact, most growers suggesting their crops to be 2-3 weeks behind where they would like them to be today.
From herein out its not so much the absolute amount of rainfall, more so the timeliness which is of higher importance and will bear the greater fruit. Below average rainfall won’t necessarily be a bad outcome should the BOM’s forecast be realised.
As we head further north over the Lachlan River and into the Central West and Northern regions of NSW the positive sentiment isn’t quite as equally shared with majority of this grain growing region in a moisture deficit with a less then kind season to date. Although there are patches which tick the boxes, these are few and far between with much of the crop quite immature or left out for fallow or a summer crop rotation.
Not all is pessimistic with the established crops today developing well and still a strong likelihood to yield an economic result.
Globally, markets also seem to be dictated to by the weather with the US corn and Canadian Rapeseed crops leading the headlines of late.
The critical pollination stage fast approaches in the US corn crop throughout July and the first half of August where the market, and crop for that matter, becomes extremely sensitive to rain events, or lack thereof. Given majority of the US corn belt is rated between moderate and severe drought leading up to the pollination or ‘silking’ stage of development, a heightened level of market volatility in markets could be expected as the crop is ever so sensitive to climatic inputs. Worth noting that approximately 30% of the US corn crop is grown in Iowa and Nebraska where the US drought monitor varies from ‘’Abnormally Dry’’ to ‘’Exceptional Drought’’.
Further north into the Canadian Prairies where the rapeseed crop is only 4 weeks away from harvest and the same dry weather conditions continue to present themselves. Alberta and Saskatchewan which are attributed to over 75% of the Canadian canola crop and at the very least rated abnormally dry with little to no reprieve forecast out to the next 15 days. Although the crop coming is facing plenty of hardship, its worth noting that the Canadian grower is also sitting on a record seed carryout from the previous seasons huge harvest and currently attracting very little export demand given the strength in domestic basis.
Overall and once again, mother nature appears to be holding all the cards for now. Here’s hoping she can be kind down under and keep us in mind early on in the spring.
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