May rainfall kick starts new season crops

A vast majority of South Australian farmers started sowing their crops for the 2019–20 season in April with welcome rainfall providing a kick-start ahead of a forecast dry season, according to the latest Crop and Pasture Report.

The State Government’s Crop and Pasture Report – Seeding Intentions shows many farmers started seeding in April with dry subsoil following harsh summer and autumn months before much anticipated rainfall in May.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said rainfall was welcomed by farmers across the state but the season’s dry forecast and increased frost risk remain as ongoing challenges.

“Paddock feed across the farming districts is critically low but the rains have provided an opportunity for germination to establish pastures and cereal crops for early livestock feed,” said Minister Whetstone.

“Some farmers have reported the May rainfall turned their worst season in memory into the best start in decades but they are acutely aware there is a long way to go in the season. 

“Initial indications reveal farmers are maintaining the area sown to wheat in the 2019-20 season and decreasing plantings of higher risk crops such as chickpeas and lentils.

“Most farmers have increased areas sown to hay crops to replenish supplies used or sold over the last year. Farmers in many districts have reduced the planned area to be sown to canola, given low soil moisture and a lower forecast price.”

The report highlights soil moisture across the state is low due to the dry conditions in the first four months of the year and above average maximum temperatures, so the season is reliant on winter rainfall.

“Most producers are supplementary-feeding their livestock with hay and grain due to poor paddock feed, but with the May rains feed availability is expected to improve,” said Minister Whetstone.

“Our primary producers remain resilient in the face of adversity and the Marshall Liberal Government will continue to provide support for farmers, their families and communities impacted by drought.”

The next Crop and Pasture Report will reveal the first region by region crop area estimates of the season. To view the report visit

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