The outlook for Australia’s winter crop production remains positive, with the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (Abares) forecasting production to increase by 7% in 2013–14 to around 39.2 million tonnes.
Prospects for total winter crop production remain positive, despite variable growing conditions over winter. Production is forecast to increase in Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia but fall in Queensland and New South Wales.
Seasonal conditions have been favourable in South Australia and total winter crop production in that state is forecast to increase by 34%, which is an upward revision from Abares June forecasts. In contrast, seasonal conditions have been dry over large areas of the Western Australian cropping zone and the production forecast has been revised down from June. However, this new forecast is still an increase of 6 per cent from the drought affected production of last year.
In Victoria, rainfall in autumn and early to mid-winter was favourable for crop development and an increase in yields is expected. In New South Wales, above average rainfall fell in June but the remainder of winter was dry. In Queensland, there was good autumn rainfall that was favourable for crop development but winter was dry.
The spring rainfall outlook issued by the Bureau of Meteorology suggests an above average chance of exceeding median rainfall in most cropping regions in eastern Australia and an average chance of exceeding median rainfall in the cropping regions in Western Australia.
Favourable rainfall during spring will be critical to achieving the increase in winter crop production being forecast. With soil moisture presently at low levels, yields will likely be lower than currently assumed if crops do not receive favourable rainfall.
Total winter crop production is forecast to increase by 7% to around 39.2 million tonnes in 2013-14. For the major winter crops wheat production is forecast to rise by 11% to 24.5 million tonnes and barley production is forecast to rise by 13% to 7.7 million tonnes. In contrast, canola production is forecast to fall by 18% to 3.3 million tonnes.
The area planted to summer crops is forecast to rise by 3% to around 1.4 million hectares in 2013-14. Given the present dryness across the summer cropping regions in northern New South Wales and southern Queensland, sufficient and timely rainfall will be needed in the lead up to, and during, the planting window for this increase to be realised.
Total summer crop production is forecast to decline by 1% to around 4.9 million tonnes in 2013-14