Improved outlook for summer crop production

10 February 2015

Average to above average rainfall in summer cropping regions has increased planting opportunities and improved yield prospects for dryland summer crops.

ABARES Executive Director Karen Schneider said total summer crop production in 2014-15 was forecast to remain largely unchanged at about 3.7 million tonnes, despite the total area planted to summer crops falling by a forecast 7 per cent to 1.05 million hectares.

“Summer cropping regions in New South Wales and Queensland have had average to above average rainfall in December and January, a marked improvement on unfavourable spring conditions,” Ms Schneider said.

“As a result, improved yields are expected to offset the decline in total summer crop planting area.”

Ms Schneider said the drop in total planting area is largely the result of an expected 46 per cent decline in the area planted to cotton, to about 210,000 hectares.

With the large reduction in planted area and a small assumed fall in the average yield, cotton production in 2014-15 is forecast to fall by 47 per cent to 470,000 tonnes of cotton lint and about 665,000 tonnes of cottonseed.

The area planted to rice is forecast to fall by 7 per cent in 2014–15 to about 71,000 hectares, reflecting reduced supplies of irrigation water in New South Wales.

Rice production is also forecast to decline by 18 per cent to 684,000 tonnes, assuming a return to average yields from the high yields in 2013–14.

“However, the area planted to grain sorghum is forecast to increase by 23 per cent to 604,000 hectares this season, with production forecast to rise by about  two-thirds to 1.8 million tonnes,” Ms Schneider said.

“This will still require sufficient and timely rainfall over the remainder of the cropping season to be realised.”

Total Australian winter crop production is estimated to have fallen by 13 per cent in 2014–15 to 38.2 million tonnes, reflecting estimated lower production in all the major producing states as a result of a decline in yields from the highs in 2013–14.

The figures were released today in the February edition of the Australian Crop Report, available online at ABARES Publications

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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