CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA — Winter crop planted area in Australia in the 2021-22 marketing year is forecast at a record 23.2 million hectares, according to the latest projections from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resources Economics and Sciences (ABARES).

The report, published Sept. 7, said Australian winter crop production is forecast to fall by 2% year-on-year, to 54.8 million tonnes, but will still be 32% above the 10-year average.

Wheat output is forecast to drop by 2% in 2021-22 to 32.6 million tonnes as a 3% decline in yield offsets a 1% gain in planted area, ABARES said.

Production of barley is expected to fall by 5% to 12.5 million tonnes, with average yield declining by 3% and planted area increasing by 2%.

ABARES sees the canola crop increasing by 11% to a record of more than 5 million tonnes as planted area is estimated to have jumped by 24% to the third highest on record at just over 3 million hectares.

The reason for the acreage increase, ABARES said, is that producers were “responding to favorable world prices and excellent planting conditions in Western Australia and New South Wales.”