New South Wales

Australian Crop Report: September edition

Seasonal conditions in New South Wales have been excellent this season with above to very much above average rainfall from March to August in nearly all winter cropping regions. Area planted to winter crops in central and northern cropping regions in New South Wales is well above average reflecting timely rainfall leading into the planting window. With above average levels of soil moisture at the end of winter, particularly in central and northern cropping regions in New South Wales, favourable spring rainfall will likely result in significantly above average winter crop yields.

According to the latest three-month rainfall outlook (September to November), issued by the Bureau of Meteorology on 3 September 2020, spring rainfall is very likely to be above average in all cropping regions in New South Wales.

Winter crop production is forecast to rise to 14.8 million tonnes in 2020–21, 49% above the 10-year average to 2019–20 and the largest winter crop since 2016–17. Winter crop yields are forecast to be above average reflecting the ideal seasonal conditions to date and the positive outlook for spring rainfall. Area planted to winter crops in New South Wales is estimated to be just over 6 million  hectares, 14% above the 10-year average to 2019–20 and almost double the area planted in 2019–20.

Wheat production is forecast to be just under 10.3 million tonnes in 2020–21, 58% above the 10-year average to 2019–20. The average yield is forecast to be 2.7  tonnes  per  hectare, 34% above the 10-year average to 2019–20. Area planted to wheat is estimated to have increased to 3.8 million hectares, which is double the area planted in 2019–20 and 23% above the 10-year average to 2019–20.

Barley production is forecast to be 2.5 million tonnes in 2020–21, 52% above the 10-year average to 2019–20. The average yield is forecast to be 2.7 tonnes per hectare, 30% above the ten year average to 2019–20. Area planted to barley is estimated to be 950,000  hectares, 22% above the 10-year average to 2019–20.

Canola production is forecast to reach 869,000  tonnes in 2020–21, 2% below the 10-year average to 2019–20. The average yield is forecast to be 1.6 tonnes per hectare, 19% above the 10-average to 2019–20. Area planted to canola is estimated to be 550,000 hectares.

Table 4 Winter crop forecasts, New South Wales, 2020−21
Crop Area
'000 ha
Yield
t/ha
Production
kt
Area change
%
Prod. change
%
Wheat 3,800 2.70 10,260 100 391
Barley 950 2.65 2,518 64 262
Canola 550 1.58 869 120 286

​​Note: Yields are based on area planted. Area based on planted crop that is harvested, fed off or failed. Percent change are relative to last year.
Sources: ABARES

Area planted to summer crops in New South Wales in 2020–21 is forecast to increase to around 386,000 hectares. Despite this being close to four times the area planted in 2019–20, it is still 29% below the 10-year average to 2019–20. The significant increase in the area planted to winter crops in northern New South Wales this season will constrain the ability of producers to plant area to summer crops, particularly if the harvest of winter crop is delayed due to weather.

Area planted to grain sorghum is forecast to increase to around 145,000 hectares. Despite this being a significant increase from the drought affected planted area in 2019–20, it is 6% below the 10-year average to 2019–20, reflecting the constrained availability of fallow land due to the excellent winter cropping season in northern New South Wales.

Area planted to cotton is forecast to increase by 220% in 2020–21 to 135,000 hectares but remain 46% below the 10-year average to 2019–20. The forecast increase is driven by increased dam levels servicing cotton growing regions, particularly in southern and central cropping regions in New South Wales and a favourable spring rainfall outlook for all cotton-growing regions. Lower cotton prices will result in some competition for land from rice in the Riverina and grain sorghum in northern New South Wales.

Area planted to rice is forecast to increase to around 26,000 hectares in 2020–21 reflecting an increase in the availability of irrigation water and increased price competitiveness with cotton production.

Table 5 Summer crop forecasts, New South Wales, 2020−21
Crop Area
'000 ha
Yield
t/ha
Production
kt
Area change
%
Prod. change
%
Grain sorghum 145 3.13 454 1108 1161
Cotton lint 135 2.03 274 220 189
Cottonseed 135 2.88 388 220 189
Rice 26 9.98 258 509 473

Note: Yields are based on area planted, except cotton which is based on area harvested. Area based on planted crop that is harvested, fed off or failed. Percent change are relative to last year.
Sources: ABARES

Statistical tables

Last reviewed: 7 September 2020
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