Wheat crop set for flop

Tasmanian Country - - NEWS -

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.

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