Other major winter crops were down including barley by 33% to 8.9 million tonnes and canola by 15% to 3.7 million tonnes, according to the latest Australian Crop report released by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES).
Summer crop conditions have deteriorated over the last two months, ABARES said, with below average rainfall and above average temperatures.
“Soil moisture levels are well below average in many regions and sufficient and timely rainfall over the remainder of the season will be critical for the development of dryland crops in these regions,” according to the report.
Production is forecast to increase by 44% to around 1.5 million tonnes.
Area planted to rice is estimated to have decreased by 2% to 80,000 hectares. Supplies of irrigation water have been sufficient to realize rice planting intentions. Rice production is forecast to decrease by 1% to around 800,000 tonnes.