SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — Hot, dry weather is forecast over the next three months for Western Australia, which is the country’s biggest wheat-producing region, according to report issued on Jan. 30 by Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology.
The report said there is only a 20% chance that Western Australia will receive average rainfall between Feb. 1 and April 30. It also forecasts a 70% chance that the majority of Australia will experience above average temperatures during that period.
Australia is the world’s fourth largest wheat exporter, but hot and dry weather the last couple of years has hampered the country’s wheat industry. After producing 31.8 million tonnes of wheat in 2016-17 and exporting 22.6 million tonnes of that total, Australia’s production fell to 21.3 million tonnes last year, with exports dropping to 14 million tonnes, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). In 2018-19, Australia’s wheat output is forecast at 17 million tonnes and exports are expected to plummet to 10.5 million tonnes, according to the USDA.
Western Australia produces nearly half of the country’s wheat harvest. Farmers will begin planting wheat in early April.