Mixed news in latest crop report

​9 February 2016

Australia’s total winter crop production is estimated to increase in 2015–16, but summer crop production is expected to decline, according to the latest Australian Crop Report by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES). 

ABARES Executive Director, Karen Schneider, said there were positive results in winter crop production estimates.

“Harvesting of winter crops has been completed and total Australian winter crop production is estimated to have increased by 4 per cent in 2015–16 to 39.5 million tonnes,” Ms Schneider said.

“Winter crop production is estimated to have increased in New South Wales (NSW), Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia, but fallen in Victoria because of poor seasonal conditions.

“For the major winter crops, wheat production is estimated to have risen by 5 per cent in 2015–16 to 24.2 million tonnes and barley production by 4 per cent to 8.5 million tonnes.

“In contrast, canola production is estimated to have fallen by 15 per cent to 2.9 million tonnes.

“Chickpea production is estimated to have increased significantly to 1 million tonnes in 2015–16, reflecting a 56 percent increase in planted area. This increase was in response to higher chickpea prices.”

Ms Schneider said total summer crop production is forecast to fall by 6 per cent to 3.9 million tonnes this season, largely as a result of a forecast fall in rice production.

“For dryland summer crops, widespread rainfall across cropping regions in Queensland and northern NSW in late January and early February improved the production outlook,” Ms Schneider said.

“But the area planted to rice is estimated to have fallen by 56 per cent in 2015–16 to around 31,000 hectares, reflecting a significant reduction in supply of irrigation water available to rice growers in NSW.

“Rice production is forecast to fall by 58 per cent to 305,000 tonnes, assuming average yields.

“Planting of summer crops is now largely complete, with total area planted forecast to increase by 5 per cent in 2015–16 to around 1.2 million hectares.

“An increase in area planted to cotton and mung beans is estimated to more than offset a fall in area planted to sorghum and rice.

“Above-average rainfall in November 2015 contributed to estimates of area planted to cotton increasing by 37 percent in 2015–16 to 270,000 hectares.”

To read ABARES’ latest Australian Crop Report, visit ABARES Publications.

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