ABARES forecasts reduced summer-crop area

Grain Central, December 6, 2022

Planting of cotton is off to a late start in NSW following recent flooding. Photo: CSD

COTTON production in New South Wales is forecast to decline by 40pc in 2022-23, as well above-average rainfall and flooding across major production regions throughout spring have impeded the ability of many growers to access fields for soil preparation and planting.

The prediction came in ABARES quarterly Australian Crop Report released today.

Even as conditions improved towards the end of spring, yield penalties due to late planting has discouraged growers.

ABARES said planting of summer crops in 2022-23 is forecast to be well above average, supported by high soil moisture and significant areas of land left fallow during winter.

Total summer-crop planting in 2022-23 is forecast at 1.4 million hectares (Mha), down 9pc from the 2021-22 area, due largely to the impact of waterlogging in NSW.

Despite forecasts for favourable returns, this is expected to largely constrain plantings to cotton and rice crops in NSW.

Lift for sorghum area seen

Areas planted to cotton and rice are forecast to fall significantly, offsetting increases to grain sorghum area.

Area planted to sorghum crops is forecast to rise by 11pc on the 2021-22 area.

Behind the lift is a combination of significant areas of land previously left fallow during winter in both NSW and Queensland, ample soil moisture for planting crops, and drier conditions in November in these regions for planting sorghum.

Sorghum production is forecast to reach the fourth highest on record at 2.6Mt, 4pc below the record production of last season.

2022-23 Qld hectares Qld tonnes NSW hectares NSW tonnes
Sorghum 500,000 1,900,000 190,000 722,000
Cottonseed 228,000 455,000 246,000 502,000
Rice NQ NQ 35,000 334,000
Sorghum 452,000 1,776,000 170,000 952,000
Cottonseed 214,000 508,000 406,000 1,005,000
Rice NQ NQ 67,000 688,000

Table 1: Old-crop and new-crop area and tonnage estimates for Australia’s major summer crops grown in Queensland and NSW. Source: ABARES

In NSW, total summer crop production is estimated to fall 34pc in 2022-23 to 1.9Mt, around the 10-year 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.

Rice production is forecast to fall 51pc in 2022-23 to 334,000t due to flood impacts causing widespread reductions in area planted.

A continuation of the current wet conditions through 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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