Emerald Grain conducted it annual farm production survey. We received feedback from 1,641 growers nationally which is illustrated in the map below and although participants were slightly down from last year, the geographical spread of contributors with concise information year on year was robust and represented 2.8 million hectares of information.
To uphold a high level of information integrity the survey results have been quality screened with the following report a summary of national cropping trends that we hope you will find valuable for your 2015/16 grain marketing decisions and planning. We are able to offer you further insight down to a local level so please contact us if you wish to discuss the results further or how you can use this information to help customise your grain marketing plan to suit your business.
National wheat plantings generally saw an increase according to the survey results with QLD the only state to see a dramatic reduction along with parts of Northern NSW. Both of these regions were impacted by a late sorghum crop encroaching into the ideal sowing period and also strong competition from chickpeas acres with some eye-popping prices luring growers away from wheat this season.
Despite the early calls of a near certain El Nino eventuating this season it appears growers throughout Southern NSW, VIC, and SA were all comfortable increasing their wheat hectares after some decent rains in January replenished soil moisture. WA however had an extremely dry January and February before the rains came in March and have continued statewide since.
Barley area was the big mover this season with all states seeing a surge in the area dedicated to barley. This comes as no surprise given the vocal and broad view was the forecast for a dry season thus many growers sought the safety of a more drought resistant crop.
Another reason for the spike in acres was the favourable pricing seen during the harvest period for barley bolstered almost exclusively by the strong Chinese demand that was seen during this period.
NSW saw the biggest swing into barley with a 36% increase to acres, most of which was a direct rota-tion out of the record canola acres we’ve seen planted over the past three seasons. VIC and SA al-so saw good increases to barley acres however both of these states saw heavier competition from pulse crops.
After the three largest canola area plantings on record in the last three seasons it was inevitable that eventually we would see a decline. Poor canola prices in the last half of 2014 and through the start of 2015 along with the vocal forecasts of a severe El Nino looks like it was enough to see many growers reduce or remove canola from their crop make up this year.
Prior to seeing the grower survey results we were comfortable that all states had seen a double digit decline in acres. Anecdotally we still believe the falls were perhaps more severe than the survey numbers reflect however it was certainly interesting to see WA canola planting results returned an increase in hectares.
NSW and VIC saw fierce reductions, especially in the Mallee, Central West and Murray regions which all reported canola areas dropping by more than half.
Two savagely dry summers weren’t enough to deter the growers in Northern NSW and QLD with regard to their 2015/16 sorghum crops. Both states saw increases to their planted acres with this season seeing crops going in relatively late into the year as moisture became available which in turn displaced the winter wheat crop in some regions.