SOIL water conditions at the end of February and the seasonal rainfall outlook for March to May indicate average to above-average sorghum yields for north-eastern Australia's summer cropping regions.
Looking specifically at Queensland, the sorghum crop outlook highlights a forecast median yield of 2.36t/ha.
This is above (62nd percentile) Queensland's long-term median of 2.22t/ha.
For northern New South Wales, the current sorghum crop outlook highlights a forecast median yield of 3.49t/ha.
This is well above (90th percentile) the long-term median of 3.0t/ha.
There are, though, the usual differences in yield expectations between the growing regions. Much of northern NSW and south-western cropping regions of Queensland have above-average crop yield expectations. In contrast, Central Queensland and the northern Darling Downs have sorghum yield outcomes closer to the long-term average.
This regional sorghum crop outlook and calculation of potential yields is based on the assumption of cropping after a winter fallow and does not take into account effects of poor crop nutrition or damage due to pests, diseases or extreme events (storms, hail, late frosts, heat waves, flooding).
A wet finish will increase the risk of damage due to pests or diseases and harvesting problems.
For more information on the seasonal crop outlook, contact Andries Potgieter on 07 4688 1417 or see qaafi.uq.edu.au/sorghum-outlook.
Reflecting the recent passage of the MJO, the 30-day average of the SOI has risen to plus 9.0 as of March 11.
It will be interesting to watch what direction the SOI takes as autumn progresses. For example, if the SOI trends into strongly negative values and remains there through to early winter, it would be a warning sign for a likely dry winter/spring.
DSITIA staff will monitor conditions over the next few months.
For updates, go to longpaddock.qld.gov.au.
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