Wheat fore­cast pre­dicts av­er­age sea­son crop

North East & Goulburn Murray Farmer - - HAY AND SILAGE -

THE Na­tional Aus­tralia Bank Agri-busi­ness sec­tor has re­leased their wheat fore­cast for the 2017 – 2018 sea­son, and the news is not as good as first ex­pected.

Fol­low­ing a dry start to win­ter and a mixed au­tumn break, the pre­dic­tion is for a close to av­er­age wheat crop of 23.3 mil­lion tonnes – a 33.8 per cent drop in pro­duc­tion on last sea­son.

While the de­cline ap­pears to be sub­stan­tial, given last sea­son broke the pre­vi­ous record crop by over 6 mil­lion tonnes, it was con­sid­ered un­likely the same pro­duc­tion level would be reached again this year.

Na­tional win­ter rain­fall to date is be­low av­er­age, and de­cent rain­fall is needed soon if wheat yields are to reach av­er­age lev­els.

While the El Niño out­look has mod­er­ated sig­nif­i­cantly over the past few months, the Bureau of Me­te­o­rol­ogy’s lat­est fore­cast still points to drier than av­er­age con­di­tions across most of Aus­tralia’s wheat re­gions into spring.

Ac­cord­ing to the De­part- ment of Agri­cul­ture and Wa­ter Re­sources, the to­tal area planted to win­ter crops across the coun­try is fore­cast to fall by around one per cent in 2017-18, to 22.5 mil­lion hectares.

Ar­eas planted to ce­real crops are ex­pected to de­crease, but the area planted to canola, chick­peas and lentils is fore­cast to rise.

Canola plan­ta­tions are fore­cast to rise in all ma­jor pro­duc­ing states, largely re­flect­ing favourable ex­pected re­turns com­pared with wheat, oats and bar­ley.

AV­ER­AGE SEA­SON: Wheat pro­duc­tion is ex­pected to drop by more than 30 per cent this year, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Aus­tralia Bank Agri-busi­ness sec­tor.

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