Australian crop forecast drops 23% from last year

by World Grain Staff
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SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — According to the December edition of the Australian Crop Report, Australian winter crop production is forecast to drop 23% from last year’s record harvest.
The report, released Dec. 4 by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES), forecast crop production at 35.1 million tonnes in 2012-13. The forecast is marginally lower (1.1 million tonnes, 3%) than the forecast released by ABARES in September.
At this forecast level, winter crop production will still be around 14% higher than the average achieved over the five years to 2010-11.
For the major winter crops, wheat production is forecast to fall by 26% to around 22 million tonnes in 2012-13; barley production to fall by 18% to around 6.9 million tonnes; and canola production to fall by 16% to around 2.6 million tonnes.
ABARES Executive Director Paul Morris said that while total winter crop production is forecast to be lower than the record harvest of last season, yields in many regions were aided by favorable levels of lower layer soil moisture.
“In south-eastern Australia, seasonal conditions were generally consistent with the spring seasonal outlook the Bureau of Meteorology issued on Aug. 22, which was incorporated into forecasts presented in the September edition of Australian Crop Report,” Morris said. “In Western Australia, rainfall was generally below average throughout the growing season and a dry October adversely affected yields in southern parts of the state.”
Total summer crop production is forecast to remain largely unchanged from last season at around 5.5 million tonnes.
“The area planted to summer crops is forecast to fall by 2% to just under 1.6 million hectares, largely reflecting an estimated significant decline in the area planted to dryland cotton,” Morris said.
The Australian Crop Report is available at
www.daff.gov.au/abares/publications.
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