2019 Harvest Progress Report

Sunset over an Australian farmland featuring a solitary grain silo amid vast golden fields under a clear sky.

Harvest Report – What the season has produced

This time round I thought we could chat about this year’s harvest, even though it hasn’t delivered what most of us would’ve liked, it hasn’t been all doom and gloom. We’ve just got to keep on doing the doings, don’t we folks?

Map of Australia showing boundaries of Australian agricultural land use. Things will be more of a miss than a hit in many ways this season, with farmers and producers from central and northern parts of New South Wales and sunny Queensland looking at complete crop failure. Although that side of things isn’t too flash at all, there will be some who manage to cut for hay and bring in some financial benefit, so I’ve got my fingers crossed for those few! ABARES is expected to release figures below the 17.2million tonnes of last season, which was the smallest ever crop since 2007/2008.

A lot of producers were forced to destock and only hang onto the bare minimum in order to keep things afloat, so it does make you wonder where our food will be sourced in the seasons to come. In short, we’re all still praying and crossing all of our fingers for a break in the season real soon, a break that will hopefully end this drought…but trust
me, it is possible. We’ve seen parts of southern New South Wales perform really well, so here’s hoping.

Some barley crops in the Riverina area are going for 2.5 – 3 tonne per hectare, and those that got in and sown early on are looking like they’ll do alright, with some of the best performing crops around at the moment. Unfortunately the later sown crops were the first to do it tough when the rainfall just didn’t come around the August/September period, so some won’t do so well, but it’s the way of the world at the moment unfortunately.

With timely rainfall, canola was back on the table in the southern regions at sowing times, and in-crop rainfall made a real difference when it was needed most. Everyone’s still chasing whatever that big old blue sky above will give us though don’t worry.

Fertiliser rates will be a trying situation in variable years, with any residue left from the previous years, so good soil testing goes a long way to helping maximise where your money is spent (or not required) and left sitting in your back pocket, which is always a bonus.
Rain delayed the harvest season for our friends over there in Western Australia, due to a stop start with the whole process, with mainly barley and canola coming in of late.

Image result for Helicoverpa armigera and Helicoverpa punctigeraOne thing that I think is worth mentioning is when the large flights of Helicoverpa armigera and Helicoverpa punctigera were detected throughout the Northern Grains Region back in August. The yearly Helicoverpa spp. Pheromone trapping program detected high numbers, with some catching over 1500 of the little budworms. What a nightmare! A lot of producers had to make some tough decisions to make around spraying options. Working out which species are actually in a crop can be a tough gig, but it’s essential to then know which insecticide options are available.

Anyway, that’s about all I’ve got for today. On another note, Chrissy isn’t far off now. I dunno about you, but the wife has been fluttering about making sure our place is ready for all the rellos in a few weeks, so I best get myself into gear and pick her out something special. Enjoy what’s left of the year you lot! I’ll be back for one last hoorah in another couple of weeks, and then we can get back into things for 2020….we’ve got some good topics up our sleeves don’t worry about that.

Look after yourselves now won’t you?
Steve, the Silologist.