Cropping prospects firm up after solid rain

Cropping prospects firm up after solid rain

Cropping
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Good rain over the weekend is a further boost for the national winter crop.

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Brendan Taylor, AgForce grains president, says weekend falls have transformed Queensland winter crop prospects.

Brendan Taylor, AgForce grains president, says weekend falls have transformed Queensland winter crop prospects.

THE NATIONS winter crop prospects received a shot in the arm with a solid band of rain that swept through Queensland and parts of NSW delivering up to 50mm in parts.

It will be enough to allow farmers on Queenslands Darling Downs the confidence to plant their winter crop after a four-month dry spell.

On the other side of the continent there were small falls that will enable Western Australian crops to hang in, although farmers remain on the lookout for a widespread, soaking rain to set up the winter.

In Queensland, AgForce grains president Brendan Taylor said there were widespread falls over the Darling Downs of 20-25m, grading up to 30-50mm around Dalby.

However, he said there were pockets that received less.

Generally it was fabulous, it allows people to plant their winter crop with confidence and for those who took a punt and dry sowed it will have the crop bouncing out of the ground, Mr Taylor said.

It is a shame that some areas have missed out but overall the region is breathing a lot easier than this time last week, he said.

There are a lot of places that have really good subsoil moisture after a wet summer, it was just a matter of joining the bands up, Mr Taylor said.

It was frustrating, we had all this rain then it went dry for four months, but this will set us on our way.

Further south, NSWs Central West was the major beneficiary of weekend rain, with Parkes and Forbes both receiving in excess of 25mm.

The heavy rain extended as far north as Coonabarabran and as far south as Temora, but other parts of the Riverina missed out.

Mark Dwyer, Rankins Springs, near Griffith, said he only had 3mm over the weekend.

He said it had been a fantastic start to the season but crops were now looking for a drink.

Things still look good, but after a run of frosts over early June it has certainly dried off a lot, Im wondering whether some of the heavier crops might have a bit much bulk for their own good if the season gets tight, Mr Dwyer said.

In Western Australia WAFarmers grains section president Mic Fels said light rain over the weekend was welcome but more was needed.

Over the wheatbelt there were a lot of falls around 10mm, or maybe a little bit under, Mr Fels said.

It keeps us in the game, but we are still looking for that big soak.

He said most crops had emerged but there was a significant reseeding program to make up for losses from wind blasting following a May storm that delivered constant gale force winds for over 24 hours but little rain.

The wind damage is among the most severe I have ever seen.

Mr Fels said it would soon be crunch time for input decisions.

Farmers have to make their minds up regarding nitrogen, it certainly feels like a dry year at present but they need to have the tools and information to assess whether that is really the case, he said.

The National Australia Bank (NAB) this week released estimated wheat production line with the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) number of 26.7 million tonnes issued last week.

Phin Ziebell, NAB agribusiness economist, said NAB had a forecast of 25.9m tonnes with a normal season, rising to 29m tonnes with 50 per cent above average rainfall for the rest of the year.

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