WHILE a season with reduced rainfall has been an issue for many regions across SA, it has brought some benefits for the Lower South East.
Landmark Millicent agronomist Emily Gilbertson said rainfall below the average meant there were none of the potential waterlogging issues often found in the southern areas.
She said there had also not been long periods of hot weather to dry out the crops.
"The way it's falling, we've got plenty of soil moisture to get us through," she said.
"It's been a really good season. It's been pretty mild, and we haven't had the huge disease pressure we have when really wet."
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She said many growers might see yields increase from the average.
Ms Gilbertson said the southern areas had also had a shift in some of the varieties grown, influenced by the results from the first year of the SA Crop Technology Centre at Millicent.
"People are growing a lot more winter wheat varieties," she said.
It's been pretty mild, and we haven't had the huge disease pressure we have when really wet.
Other common crops were beans, canola and a small amount barley, with most aimed at the feed market.
She expects harvest to start about Christmas time.
"Last year we didn't start harvest until Boxing Day, and it's been a similar season this year," she said.
A little further north, the finish to the season may have an impact on yields, according to Elders Naracoorte agronomist Adam Hancock.
"(Harvest) is going to be pretty reasonable," he said.
"There are going to be a number of patches where they won't yield the average.
"But prices are above the 10-year average so even if yields don't quite reach, the gross margins should end up about the same."
He estimated the area was about 65 millimetres behind the average in rain.
"Autumn and winter were great (for rain) but the last half of spring is what has let us down," he said. "The early-sown crops are still quite impressive but the later sown may fall down a little."
Mr Hancock said this was good news for disease issues.
"With crops such as beans, the disease pressure is well below the average expected," he said. "A disease like septoria has been getting worse for the past five years, but this year it was back a bit.
"When spring dries off, everything becomes simpler."
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Conmurra grower Richie Kirkland said it had been a particularly "lucky" season.
"We haven't got too wet and normally we can have very wet years down here," he said. "So far the crop is looking pretty happy."
After seeing the results of the SA Crop Technology Centre trials in 2018-19, he added some red winter feed wheat Accoc into his rotation, which he thinks will end up replacing Trojan.
Mr Kirkland said one issue was Accroc's limited selling options, with it able to be delivered to a receival site at Hamilton, Vic, but no closer. He also grows beans and runs livestock, which he has grazed on his crops during the winter.
He expects to start harvesting in January.
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