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Experts forecast record winter crop

For the first time since 2007–08, winter crop production is forecast to increase across all states, according to the latest Australian Crop Report by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES).

Acting ABARES Executive Director, Peter Gooday, said winter crop production forecasts were very positive, thanks to very favourable seasonal conditions over winter and a favourable outlook for spring rainfall.
 
“Total winter crop production is forecast to rise by 16 per cent in 2016–17 to a record 46.1 million tonnes, driven by significant increases in forecast production in Western Australia and Victoria,” Mr Gooday said.
 
“Seasonal conditions in most cropping regions during winter were very favourable, and crops are generally in very good condition at the beginning of spring.
 
“In the eastern states, including South Australia, winter rainfall was average to above average and in Western Australia was more variable but timely.
 
“In some regions, particularly in parts of New South Wales and far southern Western Australia, yields could be constrained by waterlogging, which resulted from very high winter rainfall.
 
“Wheat (up 16 per cent to 28.1 million tonnes) and barley (up 11 per cent to 9.5 million tonnes) production are both forecast to be the second highest on record, and canola production is forecast to be the third highest on record (up 23 per cent to around 3.6 million tonnes).”

Probability of exceeding long-term simulated median shire wheat yield. Source: Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation

Mr Gooday said forecasts for summer crops are also positive.
 
“Total area planted to summer crops is forecast to rise by 21 per cent in 2016–17 to around 1.4 million hectares with forecast increases in area planted to rice and cotton expected to more than offset a forecast fall in area planted to grain sorghum,” Mr Gooday said.
 
“Planting conditions for dryland crops are expected to be favourable, and supplies of irrigation water for irrigated crops are expected to be higher than in 2015–16.
 
“Total summer crop production is forecast to rise by 28 per cent to close to 4.8 million tonnes.
 
“Overall, the Crop Report is welcome news, with last quarter delivering well-needed production increases across the board, with an optimistic outlook for summer.”
 
To read ABARES’ latest Australian Crop Report, visit ABARES Publications.

Header photo: N. Sawyer, Flickr

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