ABARES forecasts massive Australian winter crop

ABARES forecasts massive Australian winter crop

Agribusiness
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ABARES is predicting the country's second largest ever winter crop.

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Favourable wheat, barley and canola crop outlooks across most of Australia will result in the second largest ever winter crop, according the ABARES September crop report released last week.

National winter crop production for 2020-21 is forecast at 47.9 million tonnes, second only to the 56.7mt harvest in 2016-17.

The big winter crop has been underpinned by a huge wheat forecast of 28.9mt up from the June estimate of 26.7mt. "Increased production in NSW has accounted for 60 per cent of the forecast increase," ABARES said.

Recent heavy rains have helped to bolster the production outlook for barley and canola. Barley output during the 2020/21 season will total 11.2mt, ABARES forecast, up from its estimate of 10.6mt in June. ABARES raised its canola production forecast to 3.4mt from its previous estimate of 3.2mt.

Table 1: Queensland grain prices. Source: Lloyd George.

Table 1: Queensland grain prices. Source: Lloyd George.

Queensland wheat and barley production were lowered after disappointing winter rainfall. Wheat plantings were reduced by 17pc from the June estimates to 750,0000 hectares, with the lack of planting rains. State wheat production was pegged at 1.1mt. Chickpea production was forecast at 275,000 tonnes and barley at 270,000t.

Summer crop plantings are set to increase to 650,000t, 22pc above the 10-year average after some farmers missed out on planting winter crops. Hopes of a wetter than normal summer with a possible La Nina and favourable sorghum prices, are also supporting a large summer crop planting, ABARES said.

Late winter rain has lifted winter crop potential across most of eastern Australia, SA and WA but farmers are anxious for another rain or two to finish off the season. Soil moisture reserves are already running short in northern NSW while weekend rain has bought more time for Victorian farmers.

The situation has become desperate in WA, where farmers are saying they will run out of stored soil moisture in the next week or so.

Eastern Australia is forecast to receive rain this week but the forecast for WA remains dry.

New season's wheat is firmer with traders reporting export demand at current prices. ASX east coast January wheat futures ended the week at $288, with cash bids for Melbourne, southern NSW and WA up $3 to $7 for the week.

Stock feed wheat bids into the Darling Downs were steady at $290 to $295 delivered while barley was $10 higher at $245.

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