Drought to wipe quar­ter off crops

Tasmanian Country - - NEWS -

THE im­pact of the drought on Aus­tralia’s east­ern se­aboard has been quan­ti­fied, with win­ter crop pro­duc­tion set to drop 23 per cent this sea­son to 29.3 mil­lion tonnes.

The Aus­tralian Bureau of Agri­cul­tural and Re­source Eco­nomics and Sci­ences this week said that while Aus­tralian crop pro­duc­tion was still higher than dur­ing droughts in 2002-2003 and 2006-2007, the im­pact of a dry win­ter and poor start to spring had seen fore­cast win­ter crop pro­duc­tion fall by al­most one quar­ter.

Crop pro­duc­tion has dropped 20 per cent be­low the 20-year av­er­age, ac­cord­ing to ABARES.

Fed­eral Minister for Agri­cul­ture David Lit­tleproud said the re­port con­firmed what many farm­ers had ex­pected of the sea­son.

“The story of agri­cul­ture in Aus­tralia is just add rain,” Mr Lit­tleproud said.

“I know many ar­eas are do­ing it ex­tremely tough right now, but our farm­ers con­tinue to be re­silient.”

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, West­ern Aus­tralia’s win­ter crop pro­duc­tion will make up 56 per cent of na­tional pro­duc­tion this sea­son, com­pared with an av­er­age 36 per cent of the na­tional to­tal over the past 20 years.

Wheat pro­duc­tion is fore­cast to fall 20 per cent to about 17 mil­lion tonnes, bar­ley pro­duc­tion to fall 18 per cent to about 7.3 mil­lion tonnes and canola pro­duc­tion to drop 39 per cent to 2.2 mil­lion tonnes for the sea­son.

Chick-pea pro­duc­tion is fore­cast to fall a whop­ping 71 per cent to just 330,000 tonnes.

Oat pro­duc­tion is fore­cast to drop 21 per cent to 888,000 tonnes.

Vic­to­rian win­ter crop pro­duc­tion for 2018-2019 is fore­cast to drop 51 per cent on last sea­son, with just 3.7 mil­lion tonnes pro­duced.

Win­ter crop pro­duc­tion in NSW is fore­cast to drop 57 per cent to 3.1 mil­lion tonnes, South Aus­tralian crop pro­duc­tion to fall 25 per cent to 5.2 mil­lion tonnes.

In Queens­land win­ter crop pro­duc­tion to drop 45 per cent to just 802,000 tonnes.

WA is the ex­cep­tion to the dire fore­cast with crop pro­duc­tion tipped to in­crease 11 per cent to 16.2 mil­lion tonnes.

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