CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA — Boosted by a second straight bumper harvest and strong global demand, Australia is challenging the country’s wheat export record set in 2011-12, according to a report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Through the first 11 months of the 2020-21 marketing year, which ended in August, Australia had exported 22.6 million tonnes of wheat, the USDA said.
“At this rate, Australia is well on track to achieve total exports of 24 million tonnes,” the USDA said. “If achieved, this would be only around 700,000 tonnes below the record exports set in 2011-12.”
The USDA noted that the majority of the increase is shipments have been to Indonesia and Vietnam, having increased by 583% and 374%, respectively.
Exports are up over 100% to Thailand, the Philippines, Yemen and Malaysia, according to the report.
“Notably, there are numerous nations to which there have been relatively low exports over the last five years who have become strong wheat export markets for Australia in 2020-21, including South Africa, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka and Italy, with overall growth of 2.4 million tonnes combined to these markets from 2019-20,” the USDA said.
Making the surge in exports possible is the second consecutive bumper grain crop after two years of devastating drought.
The USDA forecasts Australia’s wheat production in 2021-22 to reach 31.5 million tonnes, about 1.8 million tonnes below last year’s record crop, but the third biggest ever and 30% higher than the 10-year production average.
Coming off the second largest barley crop in the country’s history at 13.1 million tonnes, Australia is forecast to produce 12.1 million tonnes in 2021-22.