SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — Australia is primed for a bumper winter crop season, according to Australian national commodity forecaster ABARES, which pointed to favorable weather supporting soil moisture and soaring prices for spurring wheat and canola production in its June crop report.

Winter crop production for 2022-23 is forecast to reach 50.9 million tonnes, the fourth highest on record. Yield prospects are forecast to be well above 10-year averages in New South Wales and Queensland and more modestly in other states.

Record-high grain prices sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, another wet summer and a favorable start to winter, as well as poor seasonal conditions in other grain-growing regions around the world, are driving the numbers higher this season, according to ABARES.

Wheat production is forecast to increase 22% above 10-year averages to reach 30.3 million tonnes and production is forecast to reach 10.9 million tonnes, both the fourth largest on record. Canola production is forecast to increase 47% above 10-year averages to total 5.6 million tonnes, the second largest on record.

High prices of wheat and canola relative to other crops are expected to drive a 1% increase in the national area planted for wheat, and a 12% increase in area planted for canola. These increases are forecast to come largely at the expense of plantings to barley in most states and chickpeas in Queensland and New South Wales. National planting of winter crops is forecast at 23.4 million hectares, the second highest on record.

Total summer crop production in 2021–22 is estimated to reach a new record of 5.5 million tonnes. This comes as well-above average rainfall during autumn contributed to finishing off an excellent summer cropping season in Queensland and northern New South Wales. Production of grain sorghum is forecast to increase 83% to 2.7 million tonnes, supported by record average yields.