Wheat forecast predicts average season crop
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.