The State Government’s latest Crop and Pasture Report released today has highlighted promising opening rains for the 2020-21 grain season as farmers remain optimistic despite years of drought.
Primary Industries and Regions South Australia ‘Season 2020-21: Crop Seeding Intentions’ outlines a likely crop area increase on last season with growth in sowing of canola and pulses.
Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said strong opening rains provided a good start for the state’s $2 billion grains industry.
“The traditional ANZAC day rainfall was the starting point for many growers to sow for the 2020-21 season and in some areas of the state, farmers said it was the best start in years,” said Minister Whetstone.
“The latest Crop and Pasture Report outlines that most regions have received greater than 50 millimetres more rain than at the same time last year.
“Producers have increased the area sown to canola and pulses, particularly lentils due to price increases in recent months, while the barley remains steady as China’s tariffs were announced after many farmers had made final seeding decisions.
“The report notes there were early shortages of fertiliser and other inputs across the state due to the impact of coronavirus restrictions but in most instances, sufficient fertiliser was sourced.
“In 2021, for the first time in almost two decades, farmers will have the opportunity to utilise Genetically Modified canola and safflower, which will be an additional tool in decision making.”
The report found April rainfall was generally average to very much above average across the pastoral zone, and a large area, including Coober Pedy, Oodnadatta and Moomba, received very much above average rainfall with an area north of Lake Eyre receiving the highest April rainfall on record.
May rain was below average to average – with record low falls south-west of Marree to Woomera in the pastoral zone.
Pastures sown dry or semi-dry in early to mid-April have germinated and are actively growing. In some districts, these have now grown sufficiently to permit grazing.
Some parts of the pastoral zone have had enough rain to generate feed to allow some restocking, but other parts have not had the rains needed to stimulate enough feed growth to contemplate restocking.
The next report in mid-winter will include the first estimate of the crop area and crop production for the 2020-21 season.
To view the latest Crop and Pasture Report, visit pir.sa.gov.au/cropreport