CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA — Australia is poised to produce its second largest wheat crop on record in 2020-21, more than doubling last year’s drought-affected estimate of 15.2 million tonnes, according to a Jan. 26 report from the US Department of Agriculture’s Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN).

This year’s projected crop of 31 million tonnes, if realized, would rank behind only the 2016-17 season when nearly 33 million tonnes of wheat were harvested.

The report noted that GrainCorp, the major grain handler in the New South Wales region, is reporting a huge increase in wheat receivals with the company having taken in 8.4 million tonnes as of mid-January, compared to only 500,000 tonnes at the same time last year.

“This is a monumental turnaround that has strongly supported Australia’s forecast wheat production of 31 million tonnes,” the report said.

Australia also is projected to more than double its wheat exports this marketing year at 21 million tonnes. The report said this would be the third time that wheat exports have surpassed 20 million tonnes, with the last time coming in 2016-17 when 22.5 million tonnes were exported.

China, a large importer of Australian wheat, in December threatened to ban wheat in addition to barley and other products due to a growing diplomatic rift between the two countries, but China has yet to formally announce a ban.

The report said Australian wheat exports are expected to rebound strongly in Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia and Vietnam. The Philippines, South Korea and Japan also will see significant shipments of wheat from Australia in 2020-21, according to the report.