New year con­tin­ues warm, dry con­di­tions

The Free Press (Corowa) - - FRONT PAGE -

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 –

Lach­lan Good­worth in­spects sorghum tri­als at DPI Liver­pool Plains Field Sta­tion.

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