Friday, 07 June 2024 09:55

Cereal harvest yields up 4%

Written by  Mark Daniel
Despite the dry conditions, many crops yielded better than expected and harvest conditions were excellent across many regions. Despite the dry conditions, many crops yielded better than expected and harvest conditions were excellent across many regions.

A recent report from the Agricultural Industry Marketing Initiative (AIMI) highlighted the findings of a survey of New Zealand cereal growers, looking at the size of the 2024 harvest of wheat, barley and oats, divided into milling, malting or feed crops.

The report also looked at sales channels, storage status, carry-over stocks from the 2023 harvest and sowing intentions for the autumn/winter campaign of 2024.

Based on a reporting date of 1st April 2024, overall, harvest yields, averaged of the six crops, were up 4%, from a similar number of hectares (-0.4%), with a net result that saw total tonnages was up 3% compared to last season.

Of the farms surveyed, the 2024 harvest of milling wheat was 100% completed by 1 April, with feed wheat sat at 99.7% complete, malting barley 99%, feed barley 93%, milling oats 89% and feed oats 78% complete by the survey date.

Carry-over stocks (both sold and unsold) of feed wheat and feed barley were higher than in the previous three years, while unsold stocks on hand of last year’s feed wheat and feed barley crops were 2.1% and 2.5% of the 2023 harvest tonnages, respectively.

Stocks of unsold feed wheat from the current harvest are up 46% on unsold stocks at the same time last year, while unsold stocks of feed barley are up 6% as compared to last year. Unsold stocks of milling wheat are up 7%, while unsold stocks of malting barley are down 11%.

Going forward, autumn or winter sowings of feed wheat are predicted to be down 1900 hectares compared to a year ago, with feed barley autumn/winter sowings likely to be down by around 2700ha. Milling wheat autumn/winter sowings may be down by 1000ha, malting barley up by 200ha, milling oats down by 170ha, and feed oats up by 540 ha.

However, these predictions are based mostly on intentions as over all six crops, only 1.2%, which was all feed wheat, had been sown by 1 April 2024.

Looking at the 2023/24 campaign, the weather was generally dry, although some regions experienced above average rainfall events which resulted in redrilling some autumn and spring sown crops, with those later spring crops producing lower yields.

Despite the dry conditions, many crops yielded better than expected and harvest conditions were excellent across many regions. The exception was parts of Southland where frequent rainfall resulted in a prolonged harvest, while several hail events damaged crops near the foothills in Mid Canterbury.

Growers sowing in autumn and winter have reported good conditions, although there have been delays due to the dry conditions in South Canterbury and wet conditions in parts of Southland. Read the full report at

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