ABARES Deputy Executive Director, Paul Morris said that good soil moisture in the eastern states and favorable grain and oilseed prices have encouraged Australian producers to increase winter crop plantings this year.
“Recent rainfall over Western Australia’s cropping regions has also boosted winter crop prospects in that state after a dry start, however further rainfall is needed over the next few weeks to complete plantings,” Morris said.
The total area sown to winter crops is forecast to rise by 4% to 22.9 million hectares in 2011-12.
Although the total area planted is forecast to increase, production is expected to be slightly lower than last year, because it is expected that crop yields in most states will be below last season’s record yields.
Australian winter crop production is forecast to be around 40.8 million tonnes, compared with 42.1 million tonnes in 2010-11.
The area planted to wheat is forecast to reach a record 14.3 million hectares, 7% higher than 2010-11, with total wheat production forecast to be around 26.2 million tonnes, slightly below the previous season’s record production.
Morris said that the area planted to barley and canola was also forecast to increase in 2011-12 by 1% and 4%, respectively.
“Production of barley is forecast to be slightly lower at around 8.1 million tonnes and canola is to increase to 2.3 million tonnes,” Morris said. “The harvesting of summer crops grown in 2010-11 is virtually complete, with total summer crop production in 2010-11 estimated at 4.8 million tonnes, 73% higher than 2009-10.”