ABARES is forecasting above average winter crop production across Australia in 2021–22.
The area planted to winter crops is set to reach a record high nationally thanks to favourable climate conditions and high world prices.
Acting ABARES executive director Dr Jared Greenville said winter crop prospects were forecast to be well above average nationally, but there would be differences across growing regions.
“Winter crop production is forecast to be 46.8 million tonnes (Mt) in 2021–22, which is below the near record high production last year but 13 per cent above the 10-year average to 2020–21,” Dr Greenville said.
“Mixed yield performance due to tougher seasonal conditions in some areas is expected to reduce production despite the area sown to winter crops being forecast to reach a record high of 23.2 million hectares (Mha), up 2pc from last year.
“Yield prospects in most cropping regions in New South Wales, Western Australia and much of Queensland are very favourable given the favourable conditions at the beginning of the winter crop season and the outlook for winter rainfall.
“Crop yields in NSW are forecast to be lower than the record highs achieved last season but well above the 10-year average to 2020–21.
“In Western Australia, crop yields are forecast to be comparable to last season at around 9pc above the 10-year average to 2020–21.
“In contrast, planting conditions in most regions in South Australia and Victoria were generally unfavourable. Most producers in these two states will be reliant on winter rainfall to finish planting, and for crops to establish and develop.”
Dr Greenville said increased mice populations in the eastern states had resulted in producers undertaking more baiting than usual this season.
“This will increase costs of production in affected regions but farm management practices have so far minimised damage to winter crop plantings and development in affected regions,” he said.
“Some producers are likely to suffer production losses from mouse damage despite the step up in control activity, but national production levels are expected to be largely unaffected given the vast size of Australia’s cropping region.
“Early indicators are that mouse numbers have peaked in most regions as cold and wet winter conditions slow breeding rates. However, some risk remains if warmer weather in spring results in a resurgence of mice.”
Dr Greenville said for the major winter crops, the area planted to wheat was forecast to increase by 1pc to around 13.1Mha. The area planted to barley was forecast to fall by 4pc to around 4.2Mha.
“Area planted to canola is forecast to increase by 25pc to almost 3Mha, the third highest on record. Area planted to canola is expected to be boosted by favourable world prices and excellent planting conditions in WA and NSW.”
Among other crops, the area planted to chickpea is forecast to increase by 20pc to 607,000ha, in response to high prices and favourable planting conditions in Queensland and NSW.
Wheat production is forecast to fall by 17pc to 27.8Mt but still be 15pc above the 10-year average to 2020–21.
Barley production is forecast to fall by 21pc to 10.4Mt but still be 7pc above the 10-year average to 2020–21.
Canola production is forecast to increase by 4pc to 4.2Mt, which is 22pc above the 10-year average to 2020–21.
Dr Greenville said the three-month seasonal outlook from June to August, issued by the Bureau of Meteorology on 3 June 2021, indicated winter rainfall was likely to be above average in most cropping regions in eastern states and South Australia.