Wheat crop set for flop
AUSTRALIA will produce its smallest national wheat crop in a decade, according the latest Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences crop report released this week.
The government forecaster has downgraded the nation’s wheat crop this year to 20.3 million tonnes, a 1.3 milliontonne drop from its September forecast, and 42 per cent down on last year’s bumper crop.
If realised, this season’s wheat crop would be the lowest since the severe drought year of 2007-2008 when the nation’s farmers harvested just 13.6 million tonnes.
And it is likely this number could drop further, with Victoria’s recent frosts and last weekend’s huge rainfall not reflected in the estimate.
The downgrade comes after the forecaster flagged a fall in the estimated size of the Australian winter crop in October.
National barley production is estimated to remain same as in September at 8 million tonnes while the canola crop was revised up slightly to 2.9 million tonnes.
ABARES reported “significant regional variation” across grain-growing regions as the NSW season deteriorated but WA had a kind spring.
In NSW, ABARES tips the winter crop to be about half the record haul of last year and the wheat crop is forecast to be 4.8 million tonnes, the worst in 10 years. In Victoria estimates are steady, but ABARES noted frosts are expected to reduce yields for some winter crops, particularly pulses.
The Victorian wheat crop is forecast at 3.6 million tonnes, down 32 per cent on last year.
Last week storms dumped more than 200mm rain on parts of southeast Australia.
While the rain damaged pastures and hit the quality of winter crops, in parched areas of Victoria, particularly Gippsland, it boosted livestock producers and grain growers.