CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA — Australian winter wheat crop production in 2021-22 is expected to be above average due to increased planted area, according to an Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) June report.

Rise in planting is attributed to favorable weather and increased global commodity prices.

Jared Greenville, acting executive director of ABARES, said while the winter wheat forecast is well above average there will be differences across growing regions.

“Winter crop production is forecast to be 46.8 million tonnes in 2021–22, which is below the near record high production last year but 13% above the 10-year average to 2020–21,” Greenville said. “Mixed yield performance due to tougher seasonal conditions in some areas is expected to reduce production despite the area sown to winter crops being forecast to reach a record high of 23.2 million hectares, up 2% from last year.

“Yield prospects in most cropping regions in New South Wales, Western Australia and much of Queensland are very favorable given the favorable conditions at the beginning of the winter crop season and the outlook for winter rainfall.”

In comparison, Greenville noted that planting conditions in South Australia and Victoria were unfavorable and will be dependent on rainfall to finish planting and crop development.

Producers also are being challenged with pest issues.

“Increased mice populations in the eastern states have resulted in producers undertaking more baiting than usual this season,” Greenville said. “This will increase costs of production in affected regions but farm management practices have so far minimized damage to winter crop plantings and development in affected regions.”

While some producers are expected to incur production losses from the mice, Greenville does not anticipate the pest damage to impact the national wheat production average. Wet winter conditions have indicated a slowdown in breeding rates, but a possible resurgence of mice could occur in the spring along with warmer weather.

“For the major winter crops, area planted to wheat is forecast to increase by 1% to around 13.1 million hectares,” Greenville said. “Area planted to barley is forecast to fall by 4% to around 4.2 million hectares.

“Area planted to canola is forecast to increase by 25% to almost 3 million hectares, the third highest on record. Area planted to canola is expected to be boosted by favorable world prices and excellent planting conditions in Western Australia and New South Wales.”

ABARES expects Australian winter wheat production to fall by 17% to 27.8 million tonnes but still be 15% above the 10-year average to 2020–21.

Similar to wheat, barley production is forecast to decrease by 21% to 10.4 million tonnes but still be 7% above the 10-year average to 2020–21.

Australian canola production is anticipated to increase by 4% to 4.2 million tonnes, which is 22% above the 10-year average to 2020–21.