Dry July a threat to yield for 2019

Dry July a threat to yield for 2019

The driest July in more than 20 years has left crops across the Eastern Eyre Peninsula struggling.

Much of Eyre Peninsula has experienced the lowest July rainfall total since the 1990s, with the month warmer and drier than average.

According to the Bureau of Meterology, Cowell and Kimba recorded their lowest total July rainfall since 1997, with Cleve's rainfall for the month the lowest since 1999.

Cowell recorded 73 per cent below the July average with 9.2 millimetres for the month.

Kimba recorded 68 per cent less rain than average with 13mm and Cleve recorded 63 per cent below average with 15.8mm.

Cleve agronomist Sarah Meyer said after a promising start to 2019, crops across the Cleve district were beginning to brown off and rain was desperately needed in the next week.

The dry conditions in recent years and through the summer have left little sub-soil moisture across the region, leaving crops struggling to sustain early growth.

"There is high potential in most cases, but nothing to support it," Mrs Meyer said.

She said the lack of rain in July had turned the season on its head.

"The crops were happy as and then when the rain stopped they started to get stressed," she said.

The region is in a different situation to last year where a dry start to the season meant there was less potential and a wet August saw yields improve.

The high potential created by early rain this year has meant crops now require more water than they are receiving.

Rain forecast over the weekend was less than expected and Mrs Meyer said more rain was needed soon.

"It's only going to give us an extra couple of days if anything."

She said a minimum of 15mm would be required in the next week to keep the crops alive.

"If it turns warm and windy we're in a world of pain."

Conditions have been patchy across the district, with some places such as Gum Flat and Tuckey doing relatively well while much of the Kimba district and between Rudall and Cleve have received less rainfall.

Mrs Meyer said Cowell and Arno Bay, the areas hardest hit by drought in recent years, were still in a difficult situation with both a lack of sub-soil moisture and low rainfall.

"They were so far behind as it was and they've still been missing out on rain," she said.