A small har­vest?

Southern Riverina news - - NEWS -

The South­ern Rive­rina will be sim­i­lar to most of Aus­tralia and have a small 2018/19 win­ter crop.

Ac­cord­ing to agri­cul­ture bank Rabobank, a com­bi­na­tion of ex­treme dry weather and dam­ag­ing frost will de­liver Aus­tralia its small­est win­ter crop in 10 years.

The 2018/19 Win­ter Crop Pro­duc­tion Out­look is pre­dict­ing a na­tional har­vest of just 29.3 mil­lion tonnes down 23 per cent from last year.

The bank fore­casts to­tal Aus­tralian grain ex­ports to be down ap­prox­i­mately 50 per cent on last year, at 13.9 mil­lion tonnes.

Wheat ex­ports are pre­dicted to de­cline al­most 50 per cent on last year, to 8.6 mil­lion tonnes – the low­est ex­port vol­ume since 2007.

Bar­ley ex­ports are set to be down 48 per cent on last year at 3.0 mil­lion tonnes, while Aus­tralia looks set to ex­port just 1.5 mil­lion tonnes of canola, 41 per cent lower than 2017/18.

Finley-based in­de­pen­dent agronomist John Lacy said the South­ern Rive­rina is most likely go­ing to en­dure one of the small­est har­vest since the mil­len­nium drought.

‘‘Un­for­tu­nately there’s noth­ing we can do as there’s no rain and we don’t have a wa­ter al­lo­ca­tion,’’ Mr Lacy said.

‘‘The big prob­lem dur­ing the mil­len­nium drought was we didn’t have an al­lo­ca­tion.

‘‘Pas­tures for live­stock is what most farms will grow.

‘‘A lot of new crops missed out on the rain so many, such as canola, was baled for hay. Luck­ily some canola farm­ers will be able to make a profit from that.

‘‘There hasn’t been a con­sis­tent fall of rain, it’s been patchy. Some farms missed out on a lot of rain while. . . (a) few oth­ers were lucky to re­ceive some rain­fall.

‘‘I think most farm­ers have made a de­ci­sion on what they’ll do. . . dur­ing win­ter when it comes to har­vest.’’

Mr Lacy added farm­ers will need to ‘‘pray for good au­tumn rain’’ if there’s any chance of a win­ter crop sea­son.

‘‘If there are big storms over the catch­ments it can in­crease our chance of a wa­ter al­lo­ca­tion.’’

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