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The Australian Winter Crop report has been revised down by 12% from the June forecast by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) as drought plays havoc with conditions and forecasts.

Australian Crop Report Sept 18

Key points

• Total winter crop production in 2018–19 is forecast to decrease by 12% to 33.2 million tonnes.

• Forecast winter crop production is 9% below the 20 year average to 2017–18 but 91% above the lowest production during this period.

• Production in Queensland and New South Wales is forecast to be 38% and 46%

Latest Forecast Says Above Median Rain Unlikely

According to the latest three-month climate outlook (September to November 2018), issued by the Bureau of Meteorology on 30 August 2018, rainfall exceeding median is unlikely in most cropping regions in Australia. Warmer than average temperatures in September are expected in Western Australia and some parts of Queensland. Temperatures.

Australian Rainfall 2018

Seasonal conditions varied considerably in Australian cropping regions over winter

As a result the country has widely differing crop prospects at the beginning of spring.

In Western Australia, timely rainfall in late autumn and favourable winter rainfall increased soil moisture levels and yields are expected to be above average.

In South Australia, timely rainfall in most southern cropping regions in August boosted yield prospects but unfavourable seasonal conditions in northern cropping regions in June and July reduced yield prospects in these regions.

In Victoria, unfavourable seasonal conditions in the Mallee over winter reduced crop prospects but favourable winter conditions in the Wimmera and western districts generally boosted crop prospects.

Unfavourable seasonal conditions in most cropping regions in New South Wales and Queensland curtailed planting late in the planting window and yields are expected to be generally well below average. 

Winter crop forecasts include:

  • Wheat production forecast to decrease by 10 per cent to 19.1 million tonnes
  • Barley production forecast to fall 7 per cent to around 8.3 million tonnes
  • Canola production to forecast fall 24 per cent to around 2.8 million tonnes
  • Chickpea production forecast to decrease 69 per cent to 351,000 tonnes
  • Oats production forecast to fall by 6 per cent to 1.0 million tonnes.

Winter crop production will be heavily dependent on seasonal conditions during the coming spring. Timely rainfall in early spring will be critical to ongoing crop development in many cropping regions in the eastern states (including South Australia) because of low levels of soil moisture. In Western Australia, favourable spring conditions could boost production beyond that being forecast. 

While crop prospects fell over winter in many cropping regions, winter crop production in 2018–19 is expected to be significantly higher than in years with more widespread drought conditions. In 2018–19, exceptionally unfavourable seasonal conditions have been limited to Queensland, New South Wales and parts of Victoria and South Australia.  In contrast, extremely unfavourable seasonal conditions affected most cropping regions in Australia during droughts in 1994–95, 2002–03, 2006–07 and 2007–08, resulting in lower national crop production than is forecast for 2018-19.

Source: Australian crop report No. 187 September 2018

 From a Sunburnt Country ...

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