South Australia

Australian Crop Report: June edition

Planting conditions for winter crops were generally unfavourable at the beginning of the 2021–22 winter crop season in South Australia. Rainfall from the beginning of February to the end of April was average to below average in most cropping regions and soil moisture levels were well below average in late April. A significant area of crops was sown dry. Rainfall in May in southern cropping regions helped germinate dry sown crops and facilitated further planting. However most northern cropping regions, including upper Eyre Peninsula and the Murray Mallee did not receive sufficient rainfall in May to establish crops.

Sufficient and timely winter rainfall will be required to realise planting intentions and germinate and develop many crops. According to the latest three-month rainfall outlook (June to August), issued by the Bureau of Meteorology on 3 June 2021, above average winter rainfall is likely in most cropping regions in South Australia.

Area planted to winter crops is forecast to remain largely unchanged from 2020–21 at around 3.7 million hectares in 2021–22. Winter crop production is forecast to fall 16% to 7.05 million tonnes. State wide average crop yields are assumed to be slightly below the 10-year averages to 2020–21.

Area planted to wheat is forecast to remain largely unchanged at around 2.1 million hectares. The incentive to plant provided by high prices is expected to offset unfavourable planting conditions. Production is forecast to decrease by 15% to 4.1 million tonnes, largely due to an expected fall in yields.

Area planted to barley is forecast to remain largely unchanged at around 860,000 hectares. Barley remains a key component of many crop rotations and prices of barley have remained relatively favourable. Production is forecast to fall by 21% to 1.9 million tonnes, driven by an expected fall in yields.

Area planted to canola is forecast to fall by 2% to 220,000 hectares, mainly because less area is expected to be planted to canola in northern cropping regions due to the unfavourable planting conditions this year. Production is forecast to fall by 15% to 320,000 tonnes, mainly because yields are expected to be lower than last year because of the unfavourable seasonal conditions in the early part of the season.

Table 9 Winter crop forecasts, South Australia, 2021–22
Crop Area
’000 ha
Area change
Prod. change
Wheat 2,075  1.98 4,100  0 –15
Barley  860  2.21 1,900  0 –21
Canola  220  1.45  320 –2 –15

Note: Yields are based on area planted. Area based on planted crop that is harvested, fed off or failed. Percent change are relative to last year.
Sources: ABARES

Last reviewed: 3 June 2021
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