Generally favourable winter and spring growing conditions are expected to lead to a record 2011-12 national winter crop, according to the latest edition of the Australian Crop Report.
ABARES acting Deputy Executive Director, Dr Terry Sheales, said that a significant recovery in production in Western Australia is the primary driver behind the forecast record winter crop.
“The marked turnaround in Western Australian production is expected after above average rainfall throughout winter and spring,” Dr Sheales said.
“Australian winter crop production is forecast to be around 43.4 million tonnes in 2011-12, a rise of 2 per cent from the record achieved last season.”
While production in the eastern states is forecast to be smaller than the record crop last year, it is still expected to be one of the largest on record.
Rainfall in South Australia, Victoria and southern New South Wales during late winter and spring was generally favourable and is forecast to result in above average yields.
However, northern New South Wales and southern Queensland have recently experienced untimely heavy rain, which has delayed harvest and affected grain quality in some regions.
Of the major winter crops, wheat production is forecast to rise slightly on last year’s record crop, to 28.3 million tonnes.
For barley and canola, production is forecast to increase by 4 per cent and 5 per cent to 8.5 million tonnes and 2.5 million tonnes, respectively.
The above average spring rainfall in northern New South Wales and Queensland is expected to benefit summer crops, with production forecast to increase by 18 per cent to 5.4 million tonnes.
Increased availability of irrigation water is expected to lead to higher production of cotton and rice to 1.1 million tonnes and 915,000 tonnes, respectively.
Plantings of grain sorghum are forecast to be largely unchanged at around 667,000 hectares, but production is forecast to rise by 17 per cent to around 2.4 million tonnes, assuming an improvement in yields from last season.
The Australian Crop Report is available on the ABARES web page.