Drought to wipe quarter off crops
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.