Cropping

Goulburn Valley crop production increases

By Jamie Salter

Winter crop yields across the Goulburn Valley are forecast to be above average.

ABARES’ September 2020 Australian Crop Report estimates Australian winter crop production to increase by 64 per cent in 2020-21 to 47.9 million tonnes.

ABARES executive director Steve Hatfield-Dodds said crop prospects were average to above average in Victoria, despite warmer than average temperatures and below average rainfall in June and July.

“Soil moisture levels and timely rainfall were sufficient to sustain established crops through this period,” Mr Hatfield-Dodds said.

Advanced Ag agronomist Luke Nagle agreed that timing was the secret to optimal crop yields.

“We had ideal rainfall throughout winter, the last month has been reasonably dry but there's a fair soil moisture profile and the crops look pretty good still,” Mr Nagle said.

He said Goulburn Valley cropping farmers still hoped to receive about 50 mm of rainfall to finish off with.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s latest climate outlook for September to November found spring rainfall was likely to be above average in most cropping regions.

“Above average rain in October to November will interfere with dairy farmers who are hay making, so that's a risk,” Mr Nagle said.

“However, for grain growers, rain through to October will be really good.”

Mr Nagle said wheat was the most common crop grown in the Goulburn Valley, with above average yields expected.

“The commodity pricing is holding pretty well but they typically drop during harvest when there is a bumper crop.”

For the major winter crops:

● Wheat production is forecast to increase by 91 per cent to 28.9 million tonnes, 22 per cent above the 10-year average to 2019-20;

● Barley production is forecast to increase by 25 per cent to 11.2 million tonnes, 23 per cent above the 10-year average to 2019-20; and

● Canola production is forecast to rise by 47 per cent to 3.4 million tonnes, four per cent above the 10-year average to 2019-20.

Summer crops also look set for an increase on last year.