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Winter crops feel the strain of a tough season

Despite rain in many parts of the country this week, Australian farmers are experiencing a challenging season following a dry winter and hot start to Spring.

Rainfall during September was below average over much of Australia, and lowest on record for the Murray–Darling Basin as a whole.

Serious to severe rainfall deficiencies for June to September exist across the majority of New South Wales, parts of southern, central and east coast Queensland, a large area of central southern South Australia, coastal parts of northwest and northern Western Australia and the western Top End, eastern Victoria, and eastern coastal areas of Tasmania.

On 22 September 2017 , Australia as a whole had its warmest September day since national area - averaged temperature records began in 1911 . In the following week, New South Wales and Queensland had their warmest September days on record, and South Australia,, Victoria and the Northern Territory each had days in their top - 10 warmest for September . More than 20%% of Australia by area recorded its hottest September day on record during 22 – 29 September.

In addition to higher temperatures and lower rainfall, reduced winter cloud cover has also lead to frost damage in many areas of the wheat belt.

As a result, ABARES has lowered its official winter crop forecasts for the season. Its September Crop Report has revised estimates downward by 9 percent since June.

Production is now estimated to decrease by 39 per cent in 2017-18 to 36.3 million tonnes, which reflects expected falls in yields from the exceptionally high yields of 2016-17.

For the major crops, wheat production is forecast to decrease by 38 per cent to 21.6 million tonnes, barley production is forecast to decrease by 40 per cent to 8.0 million tonnes and canola production is forecast to decrease by 33 per cent to 2.8 million tonnes.

Despite the fall, production in 2017-18 is still forecast to be 2 per cent above the 10 year average to 2015-16.

What's the season looking like where you are? Log in and leave us a comment below, or tag @OzFarmers in your crop pics on Twitter.

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