FORECASTS indicate Australia’s 2022-23 grain area will be down from back-to-back record highs, but the contrast in growth rates between different crops will be stark, according to ANZ’s latest agri commodity report.
The stand-out component this season looks to be the growth in crops such as lupins and field peas.
After two years of record crops in Australia, several factors are expected to see overall area and production levels fall back toward average this season.
“For the 2022-23 winter crop, overall Australian cropping acreage is forecast to be down around by 600,000 hectares, or 2 per cent,” ANZ head of agribusiness Mark Bennett said.
The fall is mostly due to a forecast reduction in wheat area, which is tipped to decline by around 700,000ha to 12.3 million hectares.
“In contrast, some crops are forecast to see a reasonable climb in acreage in the 2022-23 season.
“Of the major crops, canola is forecast to rise by 100,000ha, or 3pc.”
The largest percentage rises are forecast to be in field peas and lupins, which could increase by 30pc to almost 900,000ha combined.
While this is a reasonable rise on the previous year, it is still only around half the area planted to those crops in the mid to late 1990s.
Mr Bennett said the trend for the major pulse crops – field peas, lupins, and chickpeas – will be an interesting one for industry stakeholders to watch in coming years.
Traditionally, the major export market for pulses has been India, although this can be volatile, depending on the state of India’s annual domestic crop and any tariffs which are added or cut as a result.
“The Australian pulse sector currently grows around half the acreage it did through the 1990s, with much of this land presumably having switched across to the larger crops of wheat, barley, and canola, due to factors including more predictable pricing and sale mechanisms, as well as the ongoing consolidation of smaller farms into larger holdings.”
“Looking ahead, some factors would point to the potential for growth in the pulse sector in Australia.
“The growing domestic and global consumer demand for plant-based proteins is likely to see the demand for these crops grow strongly.”
“In addition, new investors in the market, as well as existing producers seeking to diversify their crops, may look away from just planting the major grains and oilseeds.”