By Daryl Turner
Temperate Seed Production
Autumn and early winter rainfall has been well below average across Southern Australia as large blocking weather systems have been pushing rain systems well south of the continent. However we have been fortunate to receive good April and May rainfall in our major seed production regions of South East South Australia, Southern Victoria and Tasmania. Key legume crops of Persians, sub clovers and vetches have had excellent establishment and with an increased area sown this year we aim to improve availability for these key species. Grass crops such as phalaris, cocksfoot, fescue and ryegrass are also progressing well with very clean crops enabling us to supply quality seed to our end users. Lucerne (Alfalfa) harvest was well below average with yields ranging from 20-35% below the norm. This was caused by a number of factors – late spring frost, weather conditions during pollination and a high number of lucerne wasps causing seed damage.
Tropical Seed Production
The tropical grass harvest in Northern Australia has finished with varying yields across most species. Good conditions in Far North Queensland has ensured a good supply of some key species such as Rhodes grass and Panicums. Although extremely dry conditions in central Queensland has impacted availability of Buffel grass and Digitaria. Tropical legume harvest has just started, crops have been looking good throughout the majority of the season and early indications suggest yields to be in line with the average across most key species. The exception to this is Stylo’s, which have suffered from early frost and harvest yields will be well below average.
(Phalaris inspections in South Australia's South East)