ABARES expects higher production for every state in 2016-17.
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — Total Australian winter crop production is forecast to increase by 32% in 2016-17 to a record high of 52.4 million tonnes, led by strong gains in wheat, barley and canola production, according to the December quarterly report from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Science (ABARES).


“Favorable seasonal conditions in most cropping regions during spring boosted the production potential of crops, which were generally in very good condition at the end of winter,” ABARES noted in the Dec. 6 report. “Rainfall in September was well above average in most broadacre cropping regions of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia, which resulted in plentiful supplies of soil moisture being available to crops during the critical period for grain development. Mild temperatures during late spring helped extend this critical development period. However, in some areas the September rainfall resulted in flooding and waterlogged crops, adversely affecting grain development. In Western Australia, spring rainfall was average to slightly below average but timely and aided grain development. However, severe frosts adversely affected grain development in some growing regions.”

Wheat production is forecast to rise by 35% in 2016-17 to a record high of 32.6 million tonnes. Higher production is forecast in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia, compared with 2015-16.

In New South Wales, wheat production is forecast to increase by 40% to around 10.5 million tonnes, reflecting an expected increase in the average yield to a record high of 3 tonnes a hectare, ABARES said. Protein levels for crops harvested in the region have been “unexpectedly good,” ABARES said, despite the above-average winter and early spring rainfall and record high yields.

Wheat production in Western Australia is forecast to increase by 8% in 2016-17, by 27% in Queensland, by 42% in South Australia and more than double in Victoria, boosted by favorable seasonal conditions.

Australian barley production is forecast to rise by 24% to a record high of 10.6 million tonnes, led by an 85% forecast improvement in Victoria. ABARES said the increase in Victoria reflects a forecast increase in average yield to a record high of 2.6 tonnes a hectare.

“However, barley crops were naturally more prone than wheat and oats to damage from waterlogging and lodging because of their relative stages of development,” ABARES said. “This is expected to constrain the forecast increase in average barley yield. Planted area is estimated to have increased slightly from the previous year.”

Meanwhile, barley production is forecast to increase by 29% in 2016-17 to a record high of 2.4 million tonnes in New South Wales, and is forecast to increase by 20% in South Australia. The crop is forecast unchanged in Western Australia and down 6% in Queensland, where area planted to barley fell by 25%.

Australian canola production is forecast to rise by 22% in 2016-17 to 3.6 million tonnes, which would represent the third-highest total on record if realized.

Canola production is forecast to increase by nearly 70% in 2016-17 to 590,000 tonnes in Victoria, by 27% in South Australia and by 23% in Western Australia. In New South Wales, however, production is forecast to fall by 2%, reflecting a decline in planted area.