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Soil moisture helps improve sorghum outlook

STUNNING SHOT: Shane Pfeffer snapped this spectacular photo of a sunset over Millmerran.
STUNNING SHOT: Shane Pfeffer snapped this spectacular photo of a sunset over Millmerran. Shane Pfeffer

AT THE end of November, the regional sorghum crop outlook highlighted a forecast median yield averaged across Queensland's sorghum cropping regions of 2.12 t/ha (slightly lower than last month's forecast of 2.15t/ha).

This compares with the long-term median yield of 2.23t/ha.

However, it is early in the season, so potential yields can change significantly depending on rainfall received.

Storm rain over the past few weeks has led to a slight improvement in soil moisture levels.

Widespread rainfall is still needed, however, to provide planting opportunities and improve the overall sorghum crop outlook for the 2013/14 season.

There is also a level of variation in the outlook between the different sorghum- growing regions.

Forecast sorghum yields for central Queensland are close to the long-term median, while for southern Queensland and northern New South Wales, forecast yields remain well below long-term expectations.

The regional sorghum crop outlook and calculation of potential yields is based on the assumption of cropping after a short winter fallow and does not take into account effects of poor crop nutrition or damage due to pests, diseases or extreme events (eg storms, hail, heat waves, flooding).

It also does not take into account variations in soil moisture on a paddock scale.

For more information on the seasonal crop outlook, phone Andries Potgieter on 07 4688 1417 or visit http://www.qaafi.uq.edu.au/sorghum-outlook.

As of December 9, the 30-day average was plus 6.3.

It will be interesting to see what direction the SOI trends this month.

Sustained positive monthly values through to the end of December would provide the basis for an improvement in seasonal conditions.

For more climate-related information, updates on the SOI or seasonal outlook, go to http://www.longpaddock.qld.gov.au.

Topics:  climate watch cropping dave mcrae grains sorghum weather