Winter crop production is forecast to fall by 3 per cent in 2019–20 to 29.4 million tonnes, down 13 per cent from the production forecast in September.
ABARES acting executive director, Peter Gooday, said the revised forecast reflected early spring conditions that were poorer than expected in most cropping regions, particularly in Western Australia and southern New South Wales.
“Forecast winter production is around 27 per cent below the 10-year average to 2018–19 and is set to fall for the third consecutive year since record high production was achieved in 2016–17,” Gooday said.
“Below-average rainfall and above-average temperatures during spring reduced winter crop prospects in most cropping regions—but the changes in Western Australia and southern New South Wales had the biggest impact on national production prospects.
“High fodder prices and unfavourable seasonal conditions caused some crops planted for grains and oilseeds production to be cut for hay in regions with low levels of soil moisture at the beginning of spring.
“For the major winter crops, wheat production is forecast to decrease by 8 per cent to around 15.9 million tonnes, 35 per cent below the 10-year average to 2018–19. Barley production is forecast to increase by 4 per cent to around 8.7 million tonnes, 3 per cent below the 10-year average to 2018–19. Canola production is forecast to fall by 4 per cent to around 2.1 million tonnes, 35 per cent below the 10-year average to 2018–19.”
Gooday said according to the latest three-month rainfall outlook issued by the Bureau of Meteorology, summer rainfall is likely to be very much below average in most parts of Queensland and northern New South Wales.
“A combination of the unfavourable summer outlook and very much below average levels of soil moisture at the end of spring means summer crop production is forecast to decline by 52 per cent to around 1.2 million tonnes, which is 69 per cent below 10-year average to 2018-19
“Area planted to summer crops is forecast to fall by 49 per cent in 2019–20 to around 535,000 hectares, driven by significant expected falls in area planted to grain sorghum and cotton.”