Fore­cast for a re­duced har­vest

Central Queensland News - - RURAL WEEKLY -

LOWER cat­tle and hor­ti­cul­tural prices have helped push the NAB Ru­ral Com­modi­ties In­dex down 2.2 per cent in Septem­ber, de­spite stronger do­mes­tic wheat prices.

The lat­est re­port in­cludes an­other cut to NAB’s wheat pro­duc­tion fore­cast, to 18.7 mil­lion tonnes. This would be the small­est har­vest in a decade, and down almost 47 per cent on last year’s record crop.

NAB Agribusi­ness econ­o­mist Phin Ziebell said weather had been a ma­jor driver of lo­cal prices and pro­duc­tion lev­els.

“The weather has been wildly var­ied this year,” Mr Ziebell said.

“One of the big­gest drops in wheat pro­duc­tion will come from New South Wales, which has suf­fered from very low rain­fall, frosts and heat­waves in the space of a sin­gle sea­son.

“Mean­while West­ern Aus­tralia and, more re­cently, south-east Queens­land, have seen soak­ing rains.

“There’s al­ready been a par­tial re­cov­ery in cat­tle prices be­cause of the rain in Queens­land, but much of the coun­try re­mains very dry and pas­ture avail­abil­ity ahead of sum­mer is by no means guar­an­teed, so slaugh­ter lev­els are ex­pected to re­main el­e­vated.”

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