SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — Total Australian winter crop production is forecast to fall by 41% in 2017-18 to 35.1 million tonnes, primarily reflecting an expected decline in average yields from the exceptionally high yields of 2016-17, according to the December quarterlyreport. from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Science (ABARES).

“Prospects for total winter crop production in Australia fell slightly during spring but there was significant regional variation,” ABARES noted in the Dec. 4 report. “The condition of crops varied substantially at the start of spring and seasonal conditions during spring were mixed.

“The two changes to state level crop prospects over spring with most significance for national level production were in Western Australia and New South Wales. In Western Australia, favorable seasonal conditions boosted crop prospects in all cropping regions. In the northern and central east cropping regions, crops were generally in very poor condition at the start of spring and the favorable finish to the season averted failure for many of these crops. In contrast, seasonal conditions were very unfavorable during spring in most New South Wales cropping regions and adversely affected crop prospects.

“Yields in most regions are expected to be well below average. Crop prospects also deteriorated significantly in Queensland over spring but this change will have a much smaller effect on expected national production than the changes in Western Australia and New South Wales. In Victoria and South Australia, regional changes to crop prospects over spring varied but changes to forecast state level production are relatively small.

“Harvest is under way in many regions but progress has been slowed during November by rainfall events. According to the latest rainfall outlook, issued by the Bureau of Meteorology on 30 November 2017 December is likely to be wetter than average in south-east cropping regions.”

Wheat production is forecast to fall by 42% in 2017-18 to 20.3 million tonnes. Lower production is forecast in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia, compared with 2016-17.

In New South Wales, wheat production is forecast to decrease by 58% to around 4.8 million tonnes, which would be the smallest wheat crop since 2007-08, according to ABARES.

Wheat production in Western Australia is forecast to decrease by 25% in 2017-18, by 59% in Queensland, by 45% in South Australia and by 32% in Victoria. In Queensland, ABARES said wheat crops generally achieved high levels of protein but have been adversely affected by reported low test weights and low falling number values.

Australian barley production is forecast to fall by 40% in 2017-18 to 8 million tonnes, led by a 56% forecast decline in New South Wales and a 36% forecast decline in Victoria. ABARES said the decrease in Victoria reflects a 4% forecast decrease in planted area and a 33% decline in average yield.

Barley production is forecast to decrease by 45% in 2017-18 to 1.7 million tonnes in South Australia and by 29% in Western Australia.

Australian canola production is forecast to decline by 31% in 2017-18 to 2.9 million tonnes.

Canola production is forecast to decrease by 52% in 2017-18 to 403,000 tonnes in New South Wales, by 6% in Victoria to 660,000 tonnes, by 36% in South Australia to 250,000 tonnes, and by 30% in Western Australia to 1.5 million tonnes.