THE POORER than expected yields in parts of NSW and Western Australia have seen the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) slash the national wheat crop a further 4 per cent or just under 700,000 tonnes from its December estimate.
Total wheat production for 2019-20 is now flagged at 15.17 million tonnes, making it the smallest crop since 2007-08.
However it is still markedly better than the 2006-07 crop that came in at 10.8m tonnes.
ABARES said along with the smaller than expected yields in NSW and WA there was lost tonnage due to crops being cut for hay as farmers faced a dry spring and markedly higher than average fodder prices.
This was more than enough to counter better than expected yields in Victoria.
The dryness in other states meant that Victoria, with just 3pc of Australia's land mass, was the second largest wheat producer with 3.6 million tonnes, some 1.1m tonnes more than NSW and Queensland combined.
There was some good news in an upward revision for the production of barley, a noted strong performer in tough seasons.
ABARES lifted its estimate for barley by 2pc to 8.85m tonnes, on the back of better than anticipated production in Victoria and Tasmania.
Canola production is also expected to be up slightly on the December forecast at 2.3m tonnes.
Total winter grain production is set at around 29m tonnes.