COMMODITY forecaster, ABARES, has dramatically cut its Australian winter crop production estimate for 2018/19 to 28.22 million tonnes (Mt), down 15 per cent on the September forecast of 33.2Mt.
ABARES executive director, Dr Steve Hatfield-Dodds, said a lack of timely rainfall in early spring and frost events were key risks to winter crop prospects.
“Unfortunately, September rainfall was very much below average in many cropping regions and there were significant frost events in southern New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia,” he said.
“October rainfall benefited crop prospects in southern NSW, southern Wimmera in Victoria, southern SA and WA.
“On balance, however, the benefits of October rainfall are expected to be much smaller than damage that resulted from the unfavourable seasonal conditions during September.”
Wheat is now expected to come in around 13pc lower than ABARES’ September forecast to 16.53Mt.
The story is similar for barley production, down an expected 17pc to 6.91Mt, and canola production down an expected 20pc to 2.23Mt.
Dr Hatfield-Dodds said the most significant falls in crop prospects occurred in Victoria and South Australia.
“Winter crop area devoted to grain and oilseed production is estimated to have fallen by around 8 per cent because a higher than planned area was cut for hay,” he said.
Crop production in the eastern Australian wheat-sheep zone in 2018–19 is forecast to be down by 53pc from the 20-year average from 1998–99 to 2017–18.
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