AUSTRALIA is on track for another big crop if the current seasonal conditions continue throughout the remainder of the growing season.
As true winter sets in across the nation only an area of the Mallee across South Australia and Victoria, along with parts of the small broadacre cropping region in Central Queensland have markedly below average season prospects.
Unusually many parts of Queensland, NSW, eastern Victoria and Western Australia are on the cusp of being too wet, especially with short days and low evaporation rates.
There is a significant rain bearing system due to deposit over 25mm in the next week over much of the Darling Downs and northern NSW and in contrast to recent years many farmers are hoping to avoid the rain.
Here Farmonline takes a state-by-state look at the crop, finding there are very few chinks in the armoury at present.
AgForce grains president Brendan Taylor said the winter season was shaping up promisingly in southern Queensland, even leaning towards getting too wet in some spots on the Darling Downs.
"There's parts that have had over 50mm in-crop already, that's often more than we see over all of winter," Mr Taylor said.
"We keep picking up rain from events every week or so, at present it is wet and muddy which is disrupting the late chickpea plant, but it is set up well for the cereals," he said.
"The winter crop as a whole looks rosy for the Downs and through the south-west, it's been a long time since we've seen it wet at this time of the year but it is not as good through CQ where it has been dry."
Mr Taylor said there was some downside to the wet on the Downs, with some summer crop still unharvested and harvesting conditions deteriorating, however he said the mood was generally upbeat in spite of this.
"The mixed farmers who planted forage oats have had a great oat season, they would like to see a bit more water running for stock water but from a cropping perspective it has been great."
It is also on the damp side in NSW where farmers across many regions are looking for a dry couple of weeks.
B&W agronomist Chris Maunder, Moree, said it was getting wet in the north of the state.
"Especially to the east of Moree it is quite wet, which is an issue for the chickpea crops in particular," Mr Maunder said.
"Some are in the ground and farmers are planning to plant more but it will depend on the wet, given the soil moisture and the forecast it may be difficult for some to sow within the planting window," he said.
"In that case people will look at a fallow for either a cotton or sorghum phase later in the year, with prices for both summer crops looking good."
Mr Maunder said both cereals and canola were looking good, although paddock access for pesticide and fertiliser application was problematic.
"There is a lot going out by plane," he said.
Matthew Madden, NSW Farmers grains committee chairman, who is also based near Moree, said northern farmers did not want further rain, but said the season was well set up for NSW as a whole.
"We don't want to jump the gun, there's a long way to go until it is in the bin, but the subsoil moisture levels are good, we've got a great start and the rainfall patterns look promising," Mr Madden said.
"At present, although they wouldn't want to say it after the years of drought, farmers around here would be quite comfortable to miss the upcoming rain, but further south, around Coonamble and Walgett, things are starting to improve, they've dried out and are able to get out on the paddocks, but they still have good reserves of moisture."
Mr Madden said the mouse issue was currently dormant.
"The cold and wet have meant the mice are not active, but we are not being complacent, once it warms up we'll be keeping a really close eye on what happens, especially with the likelihood of good yield potential."
In the south of the state John Bruce, Barooga, near the Victorian border, said it was also wet in his area after over 75mm for the month.
"It is wet enough trafficability is going to be an issue for the rest of winter, especially for those on the sticky grey clays," Mr Bruce said.
He said crops were in good health across the board at present.
"Canola had a patchy emergence, but it has really caught up in the past fortnight, while the cereals look healthy, all in all it's a good situation to be in," he said.
Cropping prospects in the state's west, especially in the flagship Wimmera region have rebounded following just in time opening rains.
With top-end yield prospects fading at the start of the month due to no autumn break there was growing disquiet about the season ahead.
However, a series of unseasonably heavy June rainbands has meant crops are now emerged and have sufficient rainfall for weeks to come.
With the Bureau of Meteorology's favourable outlook for late winter and early spring confidence is again rising in the region.
Greg Speirs, who farms at Lower Norton, south-west of Horsham, said there had been a huge turnaround throughout June.
"We've had 81mm for the year up to June and 66mm in June, mostly in the past fortnight," Mr Speirs said.
Some of the earlier sown crops had already germinated on minimal May and early June moisture and have benefited from the adequate moisture while others have come up on the back of the recent rain.
"It has obviously turned things around, crops have now got plenty of moisture for what they need at this time of year when the days are short and there's not much evaporation," he said.
He said the dry start to the year meant there was little in the way of subsoil moisture so crops would be reliant on good spring rainfall, especially as crops were late.
This week there is only forecast to be light showers throughout the region, but enough to maintain moisture levels.
The outlook is not so rosy into the Mallee, where rainfall has been a lot lighter.
While crops have generally germinated, farmers are on the hunt for a substantial rain event to set them up at least for the winter period.
Michelle Bammann, Groundup Agronomy, based in the Mid North said much of South Australia looked good, but the Mallee remained stubbornly dry.
"Unfortunately even though there's been several fronts go through they have just missed that region," Ms Bammann said.
Pleasingly she said the Eyre Peninsula has received reasonable rain through June.
"They had been very dry and while it is later than optimum they are now at least back in the hunt," she said.
In her local region around Clare she said there had been heavy rainfall through June.
There has been 85mm of June rainfall at the Clare weather station, with elevated areas nearby receiving over 100mm for the month.
"It is very cold and things have stopped growing for now until it gets a bit warmer and there's a bit more light but at least there is some moisture around," Ms Bammann said.
The west also looks likely to product a big crop.
Tony White, who farms at Miling, north of Perth, said while his region was still on the dry side generally speaking the state was in good condition.
"It looks really good in our northern Geraldton region, they had strong opening rains with the cyclone earlier in the year and there has been follow up, so they're pretty happy with how things are looking," Mr White said.
"Around my region it is on the dry side, but we're picking up little bits of rain here and there so it is not too bad, we'll just need to have something useful at some stage to really get things going," he said.
He said his area was one of the driest in the state, even though it was not that dry.
"It's a big state, it's not often that there is not a bad patch here or there but generally things are good for this time of year."
However, he said caution was needed in making production estimates.
"It is still a long way from harvest and while winter rain is great it is the rain from now on that will really dictate yields, especially whether the places looking good now get those real bumper yields," he said.
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