WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S.  — Despite the Australian 2019-20 wheat outlook facing multiple climate challenges, including drought and timely rainfall, it is forecast at 20 million tonnes, according to an April 11 Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

“Most cropping areas in New South Wales (NSW) and southern Queensland remain in a drought, with rainfall required during the planting window between April and June,” the report noted. “Rainfall in South Australia has been sparse and soil moisture remains low while the forecast for Western Australia (WA) is optimistic due to recent rainfall in the cropping regions.”

It is expected that China’s decision to impose anti-dumping duties on Australian barley will affect planting decisions. Barley and sorghum production is forecast to fall while rice is expected to bounce back.

Continued drought on Australia’s east coast keeps grain prices high. The USDA noted the 2018-19 season reduced available stocks, furthering feed grain shortages in northern, NSW, southern and Queensland.

“Over the last six months, up to 2 million tonnes to 3 million tonnes of grains have been transported from WA for livestock feed,” the FAS said. “High domestic feed prices in eastern Australia will limit wheat and barley exports from this region. Further, dry conditions have reduced the sorghum harvest. Western Australia is likely to remain the major exporter of winter grains.”