CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA – Despite favorable weather conditions in parts of Australia this spring, total winter crop production dropped an estimated 36% to 37.8 million tonnes, including a 38% drop in wheat production to 21.2 million tonnes.

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.

Summer planting is mostly complete and planted area is up an estimated 2%. Grain sorghum planted area is up 26% to 501,000 hectares.

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.