Australian Grain is an independent magazine for the national grain industry, conceived and launched by Lloyd O’Connell and David Dowling in 1991 – and it’s still going strong. The magazine brings together all sectors of the industry including growers, researchers, suppliers and industry organisations. It has a leading edge and innovative readership representing the larger scale cropping operations.
It is published six times a year and the definitive Grain Yearbook is published in May each year.
Around 22 million hectares are planted annually to commercial grain crops across Australia. Climate/weather patterns and soil type effectively split Australia into two major grain cropping regions — northern and southern — and two crop growing periods — winter and summer.
Over the past two decades, new and modified farming systems, crops and techniques have increased the reliability of grain production in Australia’s challenging environment. Australian Grain has played a major role in communicating these technological and agronomic advances to the boots on the ground farm managers across the country.
The northern region takes in central and southern Qld through to northern NSW down as far as the Dubbo region. Most rainfall in this northern region tends to be over the summer months, allowing for dryland summer crop production. But with the high moisture-storing capacity of the clay-based soils of this region, supplemented by some winter rainfall, crops that grow over the winter are also successfully produced.
Winter crops in the northern region are planted across a wide time period starting in March in the Qld Central zone, through to July n the NSW Central zone. Consequently, harvest of the northern region's winter crops can stretch from September through to December.
Similarly, the north's summer crops are planted from September through to February with harvest spanning the February to May period. What this means for companies providing goods and services to northern region graingrowers is that demand for inputs effectively spans the full calendar year.
Grain crops grown in the northern region:
Winter crops - Wheat, barley, oats, chickpeas, triticale, faba beans, lupins, field peas, canola, millet/panicum, safflower and linseed.
Summer crops - Sorghum, sunflowers, maize, mungbeans, soybeans, cotton and peanuts.
The southern region stretches from central NSW (south of Dubbo) through to Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia and the southwest corner of Western Australia. The rainfall pattern ranges from uniform in central NSW through to winter-dominant in Victoria, Tasmania, SA and WA.
This is a vast region of the country with a typically Mediterranean climate of dry summers and comparatively reliable winter rainfall lending itself to winter crop production. Summer crop production requires irrigation and the major field crop irrigated in this region is medium grain rice in southern NSW
Planting of the winter crop depends on 'opening rains' and usually begins in April-May and can continue through until late July. The winter crop harvest can begin in late October and continue through until January in the higher rainfall areas.
The demand for cropping inputs and services for each winter crop begins immediately after the summer harvest of the preceding crop. Weeds, disease, soil nutrition, crop storage and marketing, machinery purchases and financing options are just some of the factors to be managed throughout the calendar year.
Grain crops grown in the southern region:
Winter crops - Wheat, barley, oats, triticale, cereal rye, lupins, field peas, canola, chickpeas, faba beans, vetch, lentils & safflower.
Summer crops - Irrigated rice & maize