A mixed start for Australia’s winter crop season

12 June 2019

ABARES’s latest crop report reflects mixed conditions across the country and the lower than average performance of the 2018-19 winter crop, according to ABARES acting Executive Director Peter Gooday.

“Above average May rainfall in South Australia, Victoria and southern New South Wales made for favourable planting and growing conditions in these regions. Crops there will be less reliant on winter rainfall than crops in other regions because of favourable levels of soil moisture at the end of autumn.

“On the other hand, below average autumn rainfall and low soil moisture levels in Western Australia, northern New South Wales and Southern Queensland constrained planting and hampered early development of dry sown crops. In order for crops in these regions to develop, they’ll need sufficient and timely winter rainfall.

“According to the latest three-month rainfall outlook issued by the Bureau of Meteorology, winter rainfall is likely to be average in Western Australia and below average in most other cropping regions.

“However, there remains a significant chance that most areas unlikely to exceed median rainfall will still receive enough to sustain crops that established successfully through until spring.”

Mr Gooday said the decision to cut many damaged crops for hay following unfavourable weather events in the 2018-19 were reflected in the forecast increases in production and planted area in 2019-20.

“Winter crop production is forecast to rise by around 20% in 2019-20 to 36.4 million tonnes.

“Area planted to winter crops is forecast to rise by around 9% to 19.6 million hectares in 2019-20.

“The forecast 2019-20 crop will be around 10% below the 10 year average to 2018-19.”

Harvesting of the 2018-19 summer crop is largely complete.

“Total summer crop production is estimated to be slightly lower than the forecast presented in the February edition of the Australian crop report,” Mr Gooday said.

The Australian crop report June 2019 is now available.

Fast facts:

  • Winter crop 2019-20 forecasts:

    • Wheat production is forecast to rise by 23% to 21.2 million tonnes.
    • Barley production is forecast to rise by 11% to 9.2 million tonnes.
    • Canola production is forecast to rise by 18% to 2.6 million tonnes.
    • Area planted to wheat, barley, canola, chickpeas, and oats are forecast to increase.

  • Summer crop estimates for 2018-19:

    • The cotton harvest is estimated to have decreased by 54% to around 485,000 tonnes of lint and 685,000 tonnes of cottonseed.
    • Rice production is estimated to have declined by 91% to 59,000 tonnes.
    • Grain sorghum production is estimated to have increased by 2% to 1.3 million tonnes.

The Australian crop report is a quarterly report that assesses crop condition and prospects for major field crops. It provides high quality and timely information that supports higher farm gate returns through informed decision making by primary producers.


Last reviewed:
11 Jun 2019