Dry start as SA grain producers wait for rain

Dry start as SA grain producers wait for rain

A Grain Producers SA (GPSA) ‘Seeding and Season Outlook Survey’ has found more than 60 per cent of South Australian growers started seeding in April or earlier, dry sowing before the season’s break.

The survey of almost 120 grain producers undertaken in April and May 2024, showed almost 30 per cent of growers were still waiting for rain before starting their seeding program.

GPSA Chief Executive Officer Brad Perry said the lack of rain to kickstart the season has meant tough decisions on cropping programs have already been made by some grain producers.

“With 83 per cent of grain producers indicating they were seeding into dry soil and only three per cent sowing into wet soil, growers need a saturating rain to get germination underway in most cropping regions,” he said.

“From the feedback in the survey, it appears that in many rotations plans to plant canola have been scaled back due to the lack of starting rain and the late timing of the season.

“In the past decade, there’s been instances in South Australia of quite late breaking rains into June so grain producers are optimistic about that much needed moisture coming soon.”

The survey found that:

  • 61 per cent of grain producers started seeding in April or earlier
  • 83 per cent of grain producers were seeding into dry soil
  • Grain producers rate their confidence for the season ahead as an average of six out of 10
  • 73 per cent of grain producers are changing crop rotations this year, predominantly due to the

    dry conditions and putting in more crop with less livestock on-farm

  • 77 per cent of growers are not planting more barley with the removal of China tariffs, 18 per

    cent are and two per cent indicated they aren’t in 2024 but will next season

  • 16 per cent of growers are planting GM canola in 2024 and have previously, 11 per cent are

    planting GM canola for the first time this season and 24 per cent are interested in doing so in the future.

    Mr Perry said nearly half of the grain producers surveyed indicated they wouldn’t be changing what they planted from the previous season.

“Of those who are changing their rotations from last season to this season, the top choices are lentils (27%), wheat (24%), barley (24%), canola (12%), oats (11%), lupins (9%), vetch (9%), hay (9%) and beans (7%),” he said.

“We also asked grain producers what new wheat varieties they were considering planting as part of their rotations and Tomahawk CL Plus (23%), Matador (12%), Soaker (5%), Patron (3%) and Genie (2%) were the top picks.”