Jul 18

Crops take a hit

MEDIAN wheat yield predictions have declined rapidly in south east Australia because of a slowly developing El Nino-like weather pattern, the Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre (AEGIC) says.

Dry: Wheat crop rankings in south east Australia have taken a hit because of an El Nino-like weather pattern.

The news comes following the release of the AEGIC’s updated August estimate of 2014 wheat yields based on the impact of soil moisture and seasonal indicators using its Stress Index (STIN) model.

Crop yield rankings are now predominately below median with many shires ranked in the lowest 10-30 per cent of years in 100 years.

The southern half of the Western Australian wheatbelt and northern areas of South Australia are two regions that have predominately above median yields.

National wheat yield forecasts based on an average finish to the season indicate a 22.3 million metric tonne (mmt) wheat crop, whereas yield projections that incorporate seasonal outlooks now indicate a 22mmt crop.

In the southern mainland states expected yields are likely to be 20 per cent to 32 per cent lower than the favourable yields recorded last year.

Accordingly, crop yield predictions based on seasonal outlooks have not changed dramatically at a national level since early July, whereas the median yield (50th percentile) has decreased with the dry finish.

In Western Australia, the 50th percentile yield has decreased since early August, but predictions based on the Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia (DAFWA) statistical seasonal forecasting model (SSF) has increased, as rainfall was slightly better than expected.

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