CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA — The good news regarding Australian grain production continues as ABARES on March 1 revised the 2021-22 winter crop to an even higher record and projected the summer harvest to be the fourth largest.

“Winter crop harvests have smashed our expectations back in December,” said Jared Greenville, executive director of ABARES.

With the winter harvest complete, ABARES estimates it at a record 61.9 million tonnes. That included record wheat output at 36.3 million tonnes, record barley production at 13.7 million tonnes and record canola output at 6.4 million tonnes.

The record wheat crop comes at an opportune time as importers look for alternative suppliers as a war between two of the largest wheat exporters, Russia and Ukraine, has shut down shipments from the Black Sea.

The summer sorghum crop is projected by ABARES to reach 2.6 million tonnes, which would rank third largest on record. Summer crop production, which also includes sorghum, is forecast to rise 64% compared to the previous year to reach 5.3 million tonnes.

“While there were flooding conditions in November that damaged early plantings of summer crops, the conditions, overall, have been very favorable,” Greenville said.

He said area for sown summer crops has risen by 48% to 1.5 million hectares, which is about 35% above the 10-year average.

“For the year ahead, there is a lot to be optimistic about,” Greenville said. “According to the latest three-month rainfall outlook (March to May) issued by the Bureau of Meteorology in February, rainfall during autumn is more likely to be above average in most cropping regions.

“While we know that La Niña can’t last, we can still expect good autumn rains to finish off the summer crops and support winter crop plantings in 2022–23.”