SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — Australia’s winter crop production in 2020-21 is forecast to increase 89%, the second largest harvest on record, according to an Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) February report.

Overall, Australia’s 2020-21 winter crop production is projected to total 55.2 million tonnes.

“This is 7.4% higher than the forecast presented in the December 2020 crop report,” said Jared Greenville, acting executive director of ABARES. “The upward revision was the result of yields continuing to exceed expectations as harvest progressed, particularly in New South Wales and Western Australia.”

Wheat production is estimated to have increased by 120% in 2020–21 to 33.3 million tonnes. Barley production is estimated to have increased by 45% to 13.1 million tonnes. Canola production is estimated to have increased by 74% to total 4.1 million tonnes.

ABARES is anticipating a stronger 2020-21 summer crop season compared to the previous but still below average.

Area planted to summer crops is estimated at 1.04 million hectares—nearly three times larger than in the heavily drought-affected 2019–20 season.

Greenville said yield prospects are expected to benefit from favorable rainfall outlook and mild temperatures forecast for autumn.

“Summer crop production is forecast to increase to 3.3 million tonnes in 2020–21,” Greenville said. “This is around 13% below the 10-year average to 2019–20 because planted area remains below average due to limited planting in New South Wales on the back of large winter crop plantings and a poor start to the summer crop season in some areas of Queensland.

“Area planted to grain sorghum is estimated to have increased by 258% in 2020–21 to 511,000 hectares. Production is forecast to increase by 409% to 1.5 million tonnes.”