ABARES has revised SA’s winter crop production down by 25 per cent to about 5.2 million tonnes, the lowest since the 2008-09 season.
September rainfall in most cropping regions was in the 10th percentile.
The lowest average minimum temperatures on record for September occurred in many parts of the eastern Eyre Peninsula, the upper Yorke Peninsula, the Mid to Upper North, the Murraylands and the upper South East, which resulted in significant frost events.
Rainfall was below average and temperature above average during October in most eastern cropping regions, which decreased soil moisture levels and hampered grain development.
Timely October rainfall benefitted crops in some other cropping regions, especially EP, YP and the SE.
November rainfall has slowed harvest but is not expected to result in significant degradation of crop quality.
According to the latest rainfall outlook issued by the Bureau of Meteorology, above average December rainfall is likely in western cropping regions.
Winter crop area in South Australia is estimated to have fallen by about 5 per cent, largely because some area planted to cereal crops for grain production was cut for hay. The main regions in which this occurred were in the upper EP, upper YP, Lower to Mid North, southern Mallee and upper SE.
Wheat production is forecast to fall by 30pc to 2.9mt, the lowest since 2008–09. The expected fall in production is largely due to lower yields in northern cropping regions, which drove a 25pc decline in the state wide average yield.
Barley production is forecast to decrease by 15pc to 1.5mt and canola production is forecast to fall by 22pc to 250,000t.
National winter crop production is forecast to be 20 per cent below the 20 year average, coming in at 29.3mt.
ABARES executive director Steve Hatfield-Dodds said Australian winter crop prospects deteriorated in early spring because of unfavourable seasonal conditions in most cropping regions.
“While production in NSW and Qld is forecast to be the lowest in more than 20 years, we expect national production to be substantially higher than in the droughts of 2002–03 and 2006–07,” Dr Hatfield-Dodds said.
“Above average rainfall in October benefitted crop prospects in southern NSW, southern Wimmera in Vic, southern SA and WA. However, it arrived too late in other regions to benefit winter crops.
“WA is expected to account for 56pc of national winter crop production in 2018–19, compared with an average of 36pc in the 20 years to 2017–18.”