Australia says winter crop output to fall by 12% in 2018-19; wheat down 10%

Australia’s total winter crop production is expected to drop by 12 per cent to 33.2 million tonnes, with wheat crop down by 10 percent, as production declines in all eastern states, according to the latest crop report.

According to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (ABARES) well below average production is expected in New South Wales and Queensland because of unfavourable seasonal conditions in most cropping regions in these states.

“The very poor conditions in most cropping regions in New South Wales and Queensland have been partly offset by forecast above average yields in Western Australia, following favourable rainfall in late autumn and winter,” ABARES Executive Director Dr Hatfield-Dodds said.

“Overall, this has resulted in ABARES revising down our current forecast by 12 per cent from the one we published in June,” he added.

According to Hatfield-Dodds, while crop prospects fell over winter in many cropping regions, national winter crop production is expected to be significantly higher than previous years when all cropping regions were drought affected.

  • Wheat production forecast to decrease by 10 per cent to 19.1 million tonnes
  • Barley production forecast to fall 7 per cent to around 8.3 million tonnes
  • Canola production to forecast fall 24 per cent to around 2.8 million tonnes
  • Chickpea production forecast to decrease 69 per cent to 351,000 tonnes
  • Oats production forecast to fall by 6 per cent to 1.0 million tonnes.

“Forecast crop production in Queensland and New South Wales are only 9 to 12 per cent above the lowest levels in the past 20 years. However with good conditions elsewhere, the national crop is almost double the lowest national production in the last 20 years, and 9 per cent below the 20 year average,” he said.

In Western Australia, timely rainfall in late autumn and favourable winter rainfall increased soil moisture levels and yields are expected to be above average.

Similarly, in South Australia, timely rainfall in August boosted yield prospects in most southern cropping regions but unfavourable seasonal conditions in the north reduced their yield prospects.

However, In Victoria, unfavourable seasonal conditions in the Mallee over winter reduced crop prospects but conditions in the Wimmera and western districts were reasonably favourable.

Timely rainfall in early spring will be critical to ongoing crop development in many cropping regions in the eastern states and South Australia because of low levels of soil moisture,” Hatfield-Dodds said.

“In Western Australia, favourable spring conditions could boost production beyond that being forecast.”

See the full September crop report here: agriculture.gov.au/crop-report.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

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