New year continues warm, dry conditions
As the new year rolls in, the warm, dry conditions continue across the state are resulting in accelerated summer crop growth.
NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Seasonal Conditions Coordinator Ian McGowen said during December rainfall was near average across 57 percent of the state.
“Above average rainfall was received in areas of the far west, central west and the Riverina,” Mr McGowen said.
“Areas of the north coast, northern tablelands, Hunter valley and the far south west received below average rainfall.
“It was the second-warmest December on record across NSW with mid-late December daytime temperatures generally well above average across NSW, except in areas of far western NSW.”
Mr McGowen said during December pasture growth slowed across most of the state with moderate growth experienced across most of the Monaro, tablelands and slopes, eastern and central Riverina, the far north west and the south of the central west.
“Topsoil moisture declined across areas of western NSW and the tablelands,” he said.
“However, relative to historical records, topsoil moisture levels were near average across most of NSW.
“Subsoil moisture remained above average across most of the inland.”
Mr McGowen said that the warmer temperatures have benefitted summer crop development, but have increased water requirements.
“The yield outlook for dryland sorghum crops in the north west remains good, with a high chance of above average yields if average to above average rainfall is received in the later stages of production,” he said.
“Following a late, cold start to the rice season, the hot weather has helped rice plants to catch up with production.
“The warmer daytime temperatures will also help to achieve average to high yields, other irrigated crops also have high yield potential.
“Cotton production forecasts of 4.4 million bales remain on track despite the current hot, dry conditions, however, if the dry weather continues dryland cotton production may be revised down.”
The Bureau of Meteorology’s rainfall outlook for January to March indicates drier than normal conditions are likely across most of NSW, with a near-equal chance of drier or wetter than normal conditions across the west and areas of the south.
Daytime temperatures are likely to be warmer than normal across most of the state, with warmer overnight temperatures across the eastern half of NSW.
Services and support are available to primary producers, their families and communities to prepare for and manage drought conditions at Droughthub – www.droughthub.nsw.gov.au
Lachlan Goodworth inspects sorghum trials at DPI Liverpool Plains Field Station.