The main crops of Australia are wheat and barley, which are planted mainly from May to July and harvested from October to January. The monitored time period thus covers the harvest of wheat and barley. Based on spatial NDVI patterns and profiles, the crop condition was average from October to November, but dropped to below average in December and January. To be more detailed: the south-eastern part of Queensland, eastern and south-eastern parts of New South Wales, the northern part of Victoria, the small part of South Australia, and south-western West Australia all show poor crop conditions with VCIx below 0.5. Rainfall was reduced by -45%, accompanied by hotter temperatures (+0.7℃) and higher RADPAR (+7%). The potential accumulated biomass kept stable (+1%). However, the south-western part of Victoria showed above average condition from October to December with VCIx above 0.8, accounting for only about 13.7% of the cropland. The CALF fell significantly by 29% below the recent 5-year average.
The national temperature profile showed average levels from October to the middle of December, 2019. The temperature returned to above average levels afterwards, except for some short periods with below average condition, i.e., during the middle of October, 2019, the beginning of November, 2019 and the end of January, 2020. The national rainfall profile showed below average levels until early January, except for average conditions during the beginning of November. Starting in mid January 2020, rainfall reached average levels.
Combining the agronomic and agroclimatic indicators, CropWatch estimates that crop production is below average for this season in Australia.
This analysis covers five agro-ecological zones (AEZ) for Australia, namely the South-eastern wheat zone, South-western wheat zone, Arid and semi-arid zone, Wet temperate and subtropical zone, and Sub-humid subtropical zone.
The crop condition in the South-eastern wheat zone, showed average crop condition from October to the beginning of December, 2019 and dropped to below average after then. For the central and north-eastern parts of this agro-ecological region, the VCIx mainly stayed in the range below 0.5 with CALF decreasing by 54%, possibly due to the decreased rainfall (-38%) , compared to the last 15-year average. Below average production is likely.
The crops in the South-western wheat zone showed below average condition at this period of harvesting. The VCIx reached only 0.61 with CALF down 23%, possibly resulting from the apparently decreased rainfall (-57%), relatively high temperature (0.8℃) and RADPAR (7%), compared to the last 15-year average. Below average production is expected.
Crop condition in the Arid and semi-arid zone was generally below average possibly due to the below average rainfall -41%, temperature +0.8℃, RADPAR 8% and BIOMASS -12%. With VCIx at 0.60 and a CALF decreasing by 6%, below average crop condition is likely.
The Wet temperate and subtropical zone showed average condition before the middle of October but the crop condition dropped sharply to below average after then until the end of the monitoring period, possibly due to the decreased rainfall (-43%), relatively high temperature (0.6℃) and RADPAR (9%), compared to the last 15-year average. The VCIx of 0.62 also indicated a below average condition with CALF decreasing further by 17%.
Crop conditions in the Sub-humid subtropical zone were below average throughout the season, due to below average rainfall (-54%) and hot temperatures (1.4℃ above average). RADPAR was 10% above average. BIOMASS was reduced by 5%. Furthermore, CALF dropped by 96% and VCIx is 0.11, indicating very poor production for this AEZ.
Figure 3.6. Australia crop condition, October 2019-January 2020
(a).Phenology of major crops
(b) Crop condition development graph based on NDVI (c) Maximum VCI
(d) Spatial NDVI patterns compared to 5YA (e) NDVI profiles
(f) Crop condition development graph based on NDVI (Southeastern wheat zone (left) and Southwestern wheat zone (right))
(g) Crop condition development graph based on NDVI (Arid and semi-arid zone (left) and Wet temperate and subtropical zone (right))
(h) Crop condition development graph based on NDVI (Sub-humid subtropical zone)
(i) Time series rainfall profile (left) and temperature profile (right))
|Region||Current (mm)||Departure from 15YA (%)||Current (°C)||Departure from 15YA (°C)||Current (MJ/m2)||Departure from 15YA (%)|
|Southeastern wheat zone||115||-38||20.3||0.1||1523||3|
|Southwestern wheat zone||48||-57||20.3||0.8||1619||7|
|Arid and semiarid zone||375||-41||28.7||0.8||1467||8|
|Wet temperate and subtropical zone||210||-43||20.0||0.6||1528||9|
|Subhumid subtropical zone||119||-54||25.6||1.4||1657||10|
|Region||Current (gDM/m2)||Departure from 15YA (%)||Current (%)||Departure from 5YA (%)||Current|
|Southeastern wheat zone||766||1||54||-21||0.56|
|Southwestern wheat zone||813||8||47||-23||0.61|
|Arid and semiarid zone||724||-12||53||-6||0.60|
|Wet temperate and subtropical zone||780||5||80||-17||0.62|
|Subhumid subtropical zone||833||-5||2||-96||0.11|