GRDC updates crop status in NSW, Qld as spring 2017 wears on

STRESSORS: The lack of rainfall and the impact of frost are dominating conversations in the paddock as spring wears on, GRDC's Jan Edwards has said.
STRESSORS: The lack of rainfall and the impact of frost are dominating conversations in the paddock as spring wears on, GRDC's Jan Edwards has said.

Spring is here and it couldn’t be more different from 2016.

That’s what Grains Research and Development Corporation representatives report hearing as the season continues to challenge growers.

GRDC senior northern region manager Jan Edwards said there were two main topics of concern as the middle of the season approached.

“Rain, or the lack of it, across much of Queensland and NSW, continues to dominate conversations in the paddock, as does the impact of frost on moisture-stressed crops,” she said.

“As one grower visiting the GRDC stand at the AgQuip Field Days at Gunnedah said recently, ‘It couldn’t be more different to 2016’.”

As one grower visiting the GRDC stand at the AgQuip Field Days at Gunnedah said recently, ‘It couldn’t be more different to 2016’.

Jan Edwards

Ms Edwards said crops west of the Newell Highway were suffering as the drier-than-average season continued.

“East of the Newell, reports are more positive – although moisture-levels and in-crop rainfall has still been varied,” she said.

“The southern regions of NSW have had similarly sporadic wet weather.

“Although there have been good falls in some areas during the past six weeks, other regions remain dry and crops have been impact by frosts.”

In Central Queensland, Ms Edwards said, reports suggested winter crops were doing better than expected despite the region receiving limited rain since Cyclone Debbie went through in late March.

“In southern Queensland, it’s a hit-and-miss case, with many traditional winter crop areas fallow after missing out on planting rain.”

The upside

But as growers and agronomists deal with the challenging season, Ms Edwards said it was heartening to see they remained keen to hear how the latest GRDC research investments would bolster farm profitability.

More than 130 people turned up for the annual joint GRDC NSW DPI research forum update at the AgQuip Field Days.

On another positive note, she said, the GRDC this month announced major investments in grains research infrastructure across the northern region.

This is as part of a national capacity-building program aimed at ensuring the enduring profitability of growers.