New South Wales

Australian Crop Report: June edition

The start to the 2020–21 winter cropping in New South Wales has been excellent. February rainfall was very much above average across northern and north western cropping regions and above average for the majority of central and southern regions which started the recharge of soil moisture after prolonged drought conditions. Autumn rainfall was above to very much above average and the highest autumn rainfall total in New South Wales since 2012. The majority of winter crops in New South Wales will be planted into good levels of soil moisture. Favourable winter rainfall will mean crop prospects will be strong at the beginning of spring.

According to the latest three-month rainfall outlook (June to August), issued by the Bureau of Meteorology on 4 June 2020, winter rainfall is likely to be average to above average in cropping regions in New South Wales.

Area planted to winter crops in New South Wales in 2020–21 is forecast to be 5.9 million hectares. This is a significant increase from previous drought affected years and 11% above the 10-year average to 2019–20. Winter crop yields are forecast to be 14% above the 10-year average to 2019–20, reflecting the excellent levels of soil moisture at the time of planting and the favourable winter rainfall outlook. Total winter crop production is forecast to increase significantly to around 12 million tonnes in 2020–21, more than three times the drought affected season in 2019–20 and 21% above the 10-year average to 2019–20.

Area planted to wheat is forecast to almost double in 2020–21 to around 3.7 million hectares, 20% above the 10-year average to 2019–20. A good season break, particularly in northern and north western cropping regions in New South Wales is forecast to lead to a recovery in area planted to wheat after three consecutive years of very unfavourable planting conditions. Production is forecast to be 8.3 million tonnes.

Area planted to barley is forecast to increase by 55% in 2020–21 to 900,000 hectares. Production is forecast to more than double to 2 million tonnes, reflecting the increase in the area planted and a forecast increase in yields.

Area planted to canola is forecast to be 550,000 hectares in 2020–21, more than double the area planted in 2019–20 reflecting a better start to the cropping season. Yields are forecast to be 10% above the 10-year average to 2019–20, resulting in production of around 800,000 tonnes.

Table 4 Winter crop forecasts, New South Wales, 2020−21
Crop Area
'000 ha
Yield
t/ha
Production
kt
Area change
%
Prod. change
%
Wheat 3,700 2.24 8,288 95 297
Barley 900 2.26 2,034 55 192
Canola 550 1.46 803 120 257

​​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

Summer crop production in New South Wales is estimated to have fallen by 62% in 2019–20 to around 350,000 tonnes. Prolonged drought conditions severely limited the area planted to summer crops and yields.

Grain sorghum production is estimated to have been 36,000 tonnes in 2019–20, significantly below the 10-year average to 2018–19 of around 539,000 tonnes.

Cotton production is estimated to have decreased by 70% to 95,000 tonnes of lint and 134,000 tonnes of seed in 2019–20.

Rice production in 2019–20 is estimated to have been 49,000 tonnes because of high water prices and low availability of irrigation water.

Table 5 Summer crop estimates, New South Wales, 2019−20
Crop Area
'000 ha
Yield
t/ha
Production
kt
Area change
%
Prod. change
%
Grain sorghum 12 3.00 36 –92 –84
Cotton lint 42 2.25 95 –81 –70
Cottonseed 42 3.18 134 –81 –70
Rice 4 13.50 49 –46 –19

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

Statistical tables

Last reviewed: 9 June 2020
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