Cropping

ABARES forecasts above-average summer crop

Grain Central, September 6, 2022

Rain has delayed the picking of cotton in some regions this year, and growers are preparing to starting planting in earnest next month. File photo: Cotton Seed Distributors

PLANTING of Australia’s upcoming summer crop is forecast to be well above average, supported by available soil moisture and significant areas of land previously left fallow during winter, according to ABARES reports released today.

In the quarterly Australian Crop Report, ABARES pegs the area planted to summer crops in 2022-23 at 1.6 million hectares, up 2 per cent from the 2021-22 crop.

This outlook is further supported by favourable seasonal conditions expected over spring.

The upcoming summer crop production is forecast to reach be the fifth highest on record at 5.2 million tonnes (Mt), or 6pc below the record production of last season.

Grain sorghum production is forecast to be the fourth highest on record at 2.6Mt, supported by well above-average area and yields, while production of cotton lint is forecast to be  the third-highest on record at 1.1Mt.

In its Australian Commodities Report, ABARES has pegged the value of cotton exports at a record $7 billion in 2022-23, making it the third most valuable export commodity after wheat at $11.7B and beef on $10.2B.

“Harvesting delays mean most of the bumper 2021-22 cotton crop will be exported during 2022-23,” ABARES executive director Dr Jared Greenville said.

In Queensland, ABARES forecast for summer-crop production in 2022-23 is 2.5Mt, matching the second-highest production on record in 2021-22.

Despite a steep decline in cotton prices in recent months, prices are forecast to remain above average throughout 2022-23, providing strong incentives to plant.

The availability of irrigation water across production regions is expected to produce another large irrigated cotton crop in 2022-23.

Many growers that missed a winter crop in 2022-23, especially those in southern Queensland, will look to make the most of current soil-moisture availability and a favourable outlook by planting
sorghum and dryland cotton.

The forecast persistence of the negative Indian Ocean Dipole into early summer and the formation of a La Niña event suggests wet conditions are to be expected.

For summer crops planted on time the rainfall outlook supports strong yield potentials across dryland plantings.

In NSW, total summer crop production is estimated to fall 12pc in 2022-23 to 2.6Mt, 32pc
above the 10year average to 2021-22.

Many growers that missed a winter crop in 2022-23 are likely to take advantage of high levels of soil moisture and plant fields that were fallow over winter to sorghum.

However, sorghum seed availability is expected to limit area expansion in 2022-23.

NSW cotton production is expected to fall from a nearrecord high as a steep decline in cotton prices, albeit with prices remaining historically high, and a forecast increase in water prices in the Murrumbidgee growing region are reducing growers’ incentive to plant.

In Queensland and NSW, a continuation of the current wet conditions through spring and early summer could prevent field access, presenting a large downside risk to summer crop production.

However, for summer crops that are sown to schedule, high water availability and a favourable rainfall outlook will support strong yields across dryland plantings.

Source: ABARES

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