Slight decrease forecast for Australian winter crop production, says ABARES

Winter crop production is forecast to fall in 2018–19 to 38 million tonnes, with canola and chickpeas forecast to decrease, while wheat and barley production is forecast to increase, the Australian agriculture department (ABARES) said in its latest forecast.

ABARES Executive Director, Dr Steve Hatfield-Dodds, said the latest Australian crop report provided a mixed outlook for Australia’s winter crops.

“Lower than average autumn rainfall significantly constrained planting intentions and uneven rainfall at the end of autumn led to a mixed start to the upcoming winter crop season,” Dr Hatfield-Dodds said in a statement.

The total area planted to winter crops is forecast to decrease by 4 per cent to 21 million hectares. This includes a drop in area planted to canola, chickpeas and lentils, he said, adding that a significant increase in area planted to barley is forecast up 10 per cent to 4.3 million hectares.

For the major winter crops, wheat and barley production are both expected to increase by 3 per cent to 22 million tonnes and 9.2 million tonnes, respectively. Canola production is forecast to fall by 16 per cent to 3.1 million tonnes.

“Amongst other crops, chickpea production is forecast to decline 40 per cent to 616,000 tonnes and oats production is forecast to remain largely unchanged at 1.1 million tonnes,” he pointed out.

With lower layer soil moisture at the end of autumn below to very much below average across most cropping regions in Australia, sufficient and timely winter rainfall will be critically important for crop development, the report said, adding that winter rainfall for June to August 2018 is likely to be around average in cropping regions in Western Australia but below average in most other cropping regions.

Summer crop production is estimated to have increased by 13 per cent in 2017–18. This was driven largely by increased sorghum and cotton production. Rice production is estimated to have been 631,000 tonnes, a reduction of 22 per cent from the previous year, the ABARES statement said.

Uttara is a correspondent with Indoasiancommodities. You can write to her on uttara.malhotra@indoasiancommodities.in.

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