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Grain Industry Association releases May crop report forecasting growers to cut canola entirely

Anna CoxMidwest Times
Canola crops near Northampton.
Camera IconCanola crops near Northampton. Credit: Robert Booth/RegionalHUB

The Grain Industry Association of Western Australia (GIWA) has released its May 2023 crop report, forecasting an unfortunate season for canola crops, but growers confident in their cereals.

The predicted low decile year is shaping up for some regions while others are having opposite experiences.

Climate models are convinced winter will be drier than average, with sea temperatures and the position of blocking high pressure systems indicating this is likely to be the case.

Although it is early days and the accuracy of predictions for this time of year have been low in previous years, growers in drier regions are adjusting planned sown areas back significantly from 2022.

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The Mid West has been an anticipated dry region, with growers cutting down canola and lupins, to focus more heavily on cereals during their 2023 programs.

Some growers have cut canola out entirely, reverting to fallow — this option is on the cards after successful 2021 and 2022 seasons left wallets full.

Mingenew Irwin Group spokesperson said: “Some growers may have an aversion to risk this season, with a view to not undoing the financial benefits of the past couple of seasons,” as to why growers are choosing fallow for 2023.

The spokesperson said cereal crops would be fine with the limited subsoil moisture, but canola was at risk without follow up rain in the next fortnight.

”The cost of (canola) seed is more expensive than other crops, and planting species such as wheat are a lot more drought tolerant than canola,” the spokesperson said.

Approximately 50 per cent of the northern region’s crop is out of the ground with large areas around Three Springs down to Carnamah and east to Perenjori very dry.

Once crops have been sown, the only mitigation tool is to reduce cropping areas or change crops as the season develops.

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