ABARES: Wheat production hits new record

by World Grain Staff
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CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA — Australia’s wheat production is up 6% to a record 29.5 million tonnes, according to the Feb. 14 crop report from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES).

Total winter crop production is estimated to be 45.4 million tonnes in 2011–12. This represents an upward revision from the December 2011 ABARES forecast of 43.4 million tonnes. Barley production is estimated to have increased by 5% to 8.6 million tonnes; and canola production is estimated to have increased by 16% to 2.8 million tonnes.

Harvesting of winter crops this season is now virtually complete, with only a small number of southern areas still to complete harvest. Growing conditions for winter crops were generally favorable across Australia and as a result, national winter crop production is estimated to have been the highest on record. Western Australia experienced a recovery from very dry conditions last season and the eastern states experienced a second successive season of favorable conditions. In southern Queensland and northern New South Wales, the winter crop harvest was completed before the recent flooding.

Despite recent flooding causing some damage to summer crops in southern Queensland and northern New South Wales, yield prospects for most summer crops remain favorable, ABARES said.

Rainfall has been above to very much above average from Nov. 1, 2011, to Jan. 31, 2012, and upper and lower layer soil moisture profiles are near record levels. As a consequence, above average yields are expected in areas not inundated by recent floods.

The most severe flooding has occurred in the central north and north-west regions of New South Wales and the south-west region in Queensland. However, since flooding generally affects low-lying areas that comprise a small proportion of crop area, the effects of flooding on summer crop production tend to be localized.

Total summer crop production in Australia is forecast to rise by 18% in 2011-12 to 5.4 million tonnes. The total summer crop area is estimated to be largely unchanged in 2011-12 as compared with area in 2010-11 at 1.6 million hectares. Increased availability of irrigation water has resulted in slightly higher cotton and rice plantings, while grain sorghum plantings are estimated to have fallen by 6% to 632,000 hectares.

Grain sorghum production is forecast to increase by 13% to 2.3 million tonnes. Despite lower crop yields resulting from cool overnight temperatures and pest damage, Australian rice production is forecast to increase by 27% to around 923,000 tonnes.



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