FIGURES released by ABARES this week have lifted the production forecast for Australia’s five major pulses to 2.96 million tonnes (Mt) from 2.68Mt forecast in June.
Released on Tuesday in the quarterly Australian Crop Report, the figures include a 36 percent increase in the forecast for lentil production.
It puts expected lentil production at 1.2Mt, up from 906,000t when based on conditions shortly after planting, which would make it Australia’s second-biggest lentil crop on record behind the 1.4Mt crop grown in 2022-23.
Forecast faba been production has lifted 12pc to 447,229t, and the field pea estimate has ratcheted up 2pc to 238,498t.
Dry conditions across northern growing regions have pushed down the estimate for lupins and chickpeas.
Lupins are now expected to total 514,209t, down 14pc from the June estimate, and the forecast chickpea figure has dropped 2pc to 533,000t.
Western Australia grows the bulk of the lupin crop, and is expected to produce 380,000t from 250,000ha, down sharply from the initial June estimate of 470,000t from 300,000ha.
Chickpeas are grown primarily in Queensland and New South Wales, where the average yield in the five years is seen at 1.4 tonnes per hectare.
Dry conditions look like pulling that back to 1.1t/ha in NSW, where 165,000t from 150,000ha is expected, and 1.3t/ha in Qld, where the crop is tipped at 320,000t from 240,000ha.
The June chickpea forecast for Qld was 315,000t from 250,00ha, and NSW was earlier tipped to produce 190,000t from 170,000ha.
May was a relatively dry month across the grainbelt, and June stayed that way for WA’s Geraldton zone, a major producer of lupins, and for southern Qld and northern NSW, which along with CQ are Australia’s key chickpea-growing areas.
“Below average to average June rainfall was insufficient to arrest further declines in soil moisture across northern New South Wales, Queensland and northern cropping areas of Western Australia,” ABARES said in its September quarter 2023 Agricultural Commodities Report.
|AUSTRALIA||Jun 2023-24 ha||Jun 2023-24 tns||Sep 2023-24 ha||Sep 2023-24 tns|
Table 1: Initial June estimates and revised September estimates for Australia’s five major pulse crops for the 2023-24 (Oct-Sep) crop year. Source ABARES