National overview

​​Australian Crop Report: February edition

Production prospects for summer crops in Queensland and northern New South Wales remain well below average. This follows unfavourable seasonal conditions in December that further depleted soil moisture levels to well below average in most summer cropping regions and record lows in some others. These low levels of soil moisture constrained planting of summer crops in most regions. Other than in central Queensland, substantial rainfall from late January through to mid-February generally arrived too late for additional planting of summer crops. Sufficient and timely rainfall over the remainder of the summer crop season will be required to achieve average yields in most regions.

According to the latest three-month rainfall outlook (March to May), issued by the Bureau of Meteorology on 6 February 2020, rainfall in most cropping regions in Queensland and northern New South Wales is generally more likely to be below average than above average but this likelihood is generally stronger in Queensland. There is no strong tendency toward either above or below average rainfall in the remaining summer cropping regions.

Planting of summer crops is largely complete and planted area is estimated to have decreased by 66% in 2019–20 to 357,000 hectares. This is a 33% downward revision from the forecast ABARES published in the December 2019 Australian crop report, largely reflecting much more unfavourable conditions in December than expected. Total summer crop production is forecast to fall by 66% to around 878,000 tonnes.

Area planted to grain sorghum is estimated to have decreased by 71% in 2019–20 to 143,000 hectares. Production is forecast to fall by 77% to around 292,000 tonnes.

Area planted to cotton is forecast to fall by 82% in 2019–20 to 61,000 hectares because of low supplies of irrigation water and insufficient levels of soil moisture to plant dryland cotton. Planted area is estimated to be the lowest since 1978–79 when it was 50,000 hectares. Production is forecast to decline by 72% to around 135,000 tonnes of lint and 191,000 tonnes of seed. The average yield is forecast to rise from last season because almost all cotton crops this season are irrigated.

Rice production is forecast to remain low at around 54,000 tonnes because of low water allocations and high water prices.

Harvesting of 2019–20 winter crops is largely complete and estimated production remains largely unchanged from the forecast ABARES published in the December 2019 edition of Australian crop report. Higher than expected barley and canola production is estimated to have offset lower than expected wheat production.

Australian winter crop production is estimated to have decreased by 5% in 2019–20 to just under 29 million tonnes. Wheat production is estimated to have fallen by 12% to 15.2 million tonnes, barley production is estimated to have increased by 7% to 8.9 million tonnes and canola production is estimated to have increased by 7% to 2.3 million tonnes. Amongst other crops, chickpea production is estimated to have remained largely unchanged at 281,000 tonnes and oats production is estimated to have increased by 1% to 900,000 tonnes.

Winter crop area is estimated to have increased slightly in 2019–20 to 18 million hectares.

Table 1 Summer crop area and production, Australia, 2009–10 to 2019–20
  New South Wales Queensland Australia
Year '000 ha kt '000 ha kt '000 ha kt
2009–10 381 1405 514 1342 903 2764
2010–11 713 2514 790 1901 1514 4446
2011–12 757 3064 783 2379 1556 5489
2012–13 711 3205 686 2250 1411 5506
2013–14 568 2317 559 1469 1139 3847
2014–15 435 2044 696 2134 1149 4263
2015–16 412 1646 624 1814 1054 3552
2016–17 662 2289 566 1278 1247 3666
2017–18 614 2205 649 1648 1283 3952
2018–19 s 425 1019 617 1493 1056 2593
2019–20 f 101 343 239 459 357 878
% change 2018–19 to 2019–20 –76.3 –66.3 –61.3 –69.3 –66.2 –66.1

s ABARES estimate. f ABARES forecast.
Note: State production includes cottonseed, grain sorghum, corn (maize), mung beans, rice, peanuts, soybeans and sunflowers. Total for Australia also includes navy beans, and small areas and volumes of summer crops in other states. Due to a change in scope by the ABS of its agricultural data collections, crop production is shown for establishments with an estimated value of agricultural operations (EVAO) of $5,000 or more until 2014–15, and an EVAO of $40,000 or more from 2015–16. Area based on planted crop that is harvested, fed off or failed.
Sources: ABARES; ABS

Table 2 Winter crop production, Australia, 2009–10 to 2019–20
Year Unit New South Wales Victoria Queensland South Australia Western Australia Australia
2009–10 kt 7787 5,889 1,617 7,035 12,943 35,343
2010–11 kt 14784 7,625 1,821 9,316 8,044 41,672
2011–12 kt 11,952 7,352 2,329 7,371 16,600 45,673
2012–13 kt 11,123 6,886 2,156 6,470 11,244 37,936
2013–14 kt 9,773 6,774 1,516 7,221 16,511 41,881
2014–15 kt 10,445 5,117 1,464 7,439 14,662 39,198
2015–16 kt 11,624 3,568 2,104 6,104 14,206 37,687
2016–17 kt 15,510 9,511 3,159 10,656 17,737 56,675
2017–18 kt 7,743 7,612 1,438 7,022 14,510 38,396
2018–19 s kt 2,880 3,733 714 5,286 17,729 30,433
2019–20 s kt 3,339 7,424 678 5,923 11,517 28,990
% change 2018–19 to 2019–20   15.9 98.9 –5.1 12.1 –35.0 –4.7

s ABARES estimate.

Notes: Includes barley, canola, chickpeas, faba beans, field peas, lentils, linseed, lupins, oats, safflower, triticale and wheat. Due to a change in scope by the ABS of its agricultural data collections, crop production is shown for establishments with an estimated value of agricultural operations (EVAO) of $5,000 or more until 2014–15, and an EVAO of $40,000 or more from 2015–16.

Table 3 Winter crop area, Australia, 2009–10 to 2019–20
Year Unit New South Wales Victoria Queensland South Australia Western Australia Australia
2009–10 '000 ha 6,106 3,488 1,173 3,783 8,271 22,844
2010–11 '000 ha 6,158 3,457 1,217 3,821 7,715 22,392
2011–12 '000 ha 5,969 3,411 1,205 3,838 8,252 22,693
2012–13 '000 ha 5,852 3,457 1,222 3,776 8,097 22,421
2013–14 '000 ha 5,314 3,283 1,105 3,448 8,249 21,419
2014–15 '000 ha 5,491 3,304 995 3,639 8,313 21,760
2015–16 '000 ha 5,375 2,915 1,049 3,152 7,771 20,283
2016–17 '000 ha 6,062 3,231 1,375 3,904 8,531 23,126
2017–18 '000 ha 5,489 3,509 1,302 3,645 7,898 21,861
2018–19 s '000 ha 2,971 2,903 715 3,326 8,050 17,987
2019–20 s '000 ha 3,085 3,101 657 3,462 7,692 18,021
% change 2018–19 to 2019–20   3.8 6.8 –8.2 4.1 –4.4 0.2

s ABARES estimate.
Notes: Includes barley, canola, chickpeas, faba beans, field peas, lentils, linseed, lupins, oats, safflower, triticale and wheat. Due to a change in scope by the ABS of its agricultural data collections, crop production is shown for establishments with an estimated value of agricultural operations (EVAO) of $5,000 or more until 2014–15, and an EVAO of $40,000 or more from 2015–16. Area based on planted crop that is harvested, fed off or failed.
Sources: ABARES; ABS

Statistical tables

​​​​


 
Last reviewed: 18 February 2020
Thanks for your feedback.
Thanks! Your feedback has been submitted.

We aren't able to respond to your individual comments or questions.
To contact us directly phone us or submit an online inquiry

Please verify that you are not a robot.

Skip