ABARES releases initial wheat, barley, canola estimates

Grain Central June 6, 2023

With the exception primarily of northern NSW, nearly all of Australia’s wheat crop has been planted well on time, and is forecast to yield 26.2Mt. Photo: InterGrain

ABARES has today released its initial estimates for Australia’s winter crop now in the final stages of planting, and an end to the run of three consecutive record seasons is expected as drier conditions take hold.

On wheat, 2023-24 production is forecast in the latest quarterly Australian Crop Report at 26.2 million tonnes (Mt), down 33 percent from 39.2Mt grown in 2022-23.

New-crop barley is forecast at 9.9Mt, down 30pc from 14.1Mt last year, and canola seen at 4.9Mt marks a whopping 41pc drop from the monster current crop of 8.3Mt.

ABARES executive director Jared Greenville said the report forecasts total Australian winter-crop production to fall by 34pc to 44.9Mt in 2023-24.

“The start of the winter cropping season in 2023-24 has been mixed,” Dr Greenville said.

“Early autumn rainfall in some major cropping regions in southern Victoria, southern New South Wales, southern Queensland, South Australia and central cropping regions in Western Australia replenished soil-moisture levels and provided favourable planting conditions.

“However, autumn rainfall in northern and southern cropping regions in WA, northern NSW, northern Victoria and parts of southern and Central Qld has been lower than average and soil moisture levels have remained low.”

ABARES forecasts winter-crop production from the upcoming harvest will decline to 3pc below the 10-year average to 2022-23 of 46.4Mt, and yield prospects are forecast to be below average due to the expectation of below-average rainfall for winter and spring.

“Increased mouse activity in many cropping regions has resulted in growers undertaking more baiting this season.”

Dr Greenville said the “delayed and difficult harvest” of the record 2022-23 winter crop led to greater grain loss than usual.

“On a more positive note, high crop prices, good seasons and record farm cash incomes over the last three years mean many growers will stay in a strong financial position despite the fall in production.

“This will incentivise farmers to plant a crop this season while also allowing some growers to fallow a higher proportion of paddocks in dry areas.”

Area planted to wheat is forecast to fall by 2pc to 12.8Mha and area planted to barley is forecast to increase by 4pc to 4.3Mha, largely because of the crop’s ability to withstand drier conditions compared to wheat and canola.

The longer planting window for cereals is also expected to result in some late plantings following rainfall events.

“Looking ahead, a significant downside risk to the 2023-24 winter cropping season is the potential for an El Niño event and positive Indian Ocean Dipole to both eventuate this year.

“Looking ahead, the development of an El Niño event is likely to result in below-average rainfall across eastern Australia during the winter-cropping season.

“We are also expected to see a positive Indian Ocean Dipole which may suppress winter and spring rainfall over much of Australia and potentially exacerbate the drying effect of an El Niño event.”

Despite the decline in production and weather events, national planting to winter crops in 2023-24 is set to remain historically high at 23.3Mha, 6pc above the 10-year average to 2022-23.

WHEAT TNS 2021-22 2022-23 2023-24
Qld 2,222,000 2,305,000 1,520,000
NSW 12,029,000 10,260,000 7,200,000
Vic 4,246,000 5,393,000 3,397,000
SA 4,750,000 7,350,000 4,510,000
WA 12,919,000 13,800,000 9,500,000
Tas 70,000 82,500 73,000*
TOTAL 36,236,000 39,190,500 26,200,000

Table 1: Australian wheat production estimates in tonnes and by state. * To be confirmed. Source: ABARES

WHEAT HA 2021-22 2022-23  2023-24 Jun 
Qld 941,000 980,000 920,000
NSW 3,608,000 3,600,000 3,510,000
Vic 1,445,000 1,500,000 1,540,000
SA 2,008,000 2,200,000 2,200,000
WA 4,718,000 4,750,000 4,650,000
Tas 9,300 15,000 NA
TOTAL 12,729,300 13,045,000 12,820,000

Table 2: Australian wheat area in hectares and by state. Source: ABARES

BARLEY TNS 2021-22 2022-23 2023-24
Qld 617,000 403,000 310,000
NSW 3,562,000 2,278,000 1,810,000
Vic 2,271,000 2,896,000 1,865,000
SA 2,146,000 2,900,000 1,892,000
WA 5,758,000 5,600,000 4,000,000
Tas 24,000 60,500 NA
TOTAL 14,378,000 14,137,500 9,877,000

Table 3: Australian barley production estimates in tonnes and by state. Source: ABARES

BARLEY HA 2021-22 2022-23 2023-24
Qld 207,000 136,000 150,000
NSW 1,159,000 780,000 840,000
Vic 870,000 820,000 830,000
SA 970,000 830,000 860,000
WA 1,884,000 1,550,000 1,600,000
Tas 4,300 11,000 NA
TOTAL 5,094,300 4,127,000 4,280,000

Table 4: Australian barley area in hectares and by state. Source: ABARES

CANOLA TNS 2021-22 2022-23 2023-24
Qld 4,700 10,000 NA
NSW 2,114,000 1,800,000 1,140,000
Vic 1,303,000 1,383,000 860,000
SA 435,000 770,000 413,000
WA 2,954,000 4,300,000 2,500,000
Tas 9,800 10,000 NA
TOTAL 6,820,500 8,273,000 4,913,000

Table 5: Australian canola production estimates in tonnes and by state. Source: ABARES

CANOLA HA 2021-22 2022-23  2023-24
Qld 2,200 4,700 NA
NSW 941,000 900,000 860,000
Vic 569,000 600,000 550,000
SA 222,000 290,000 275,000
WA 1,513,000 2,100,000 1,800,000
Tas 3,600 5,000 NA
TOTAL 3,250,800 3,899,700 3,485,000

Table 6: Australian canola area in hectares and by state. Source: ABARES

Source: ABARES


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