Australian Crop Report: September edition
- National winter crop production in 2022–23 is forecast to reach the fourth highest on record at 55.5 million tonnes.
- Winter crop prospects in Australia are very favourable at the beginning of spring, with well above average yield potentials across all states.
- Planting of summer crops in 2022–23 is forecast to be well above average, supported by available soil moisture and significant areas of land left fallow during winter.
Winter crop production in 2022–23 forecast to reach the fourth highest on record
Winter crop prospects in Australia at the beginning of spring remain well above average following generally favourable seasonal conditions over winter. Timely and sufficient rainfall in late winter greatly benefitted crop development in many regions and lifted average yield potentials across all states. Cropping regions in Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria have benefitted more consistently from these winter developments than those in New South Wales and Queensland.
Ongoing wet conditions in large parts of southern Queensland and northern and central New South Wales prevented many growers from sowing or re-attempting to sow a late winter crop. Crop establishment in some low-lying areas has also been patchy, while a significant proportion of crops have been adversely affected by continuing waterlogging issues. This contrasts with the more favourable crop conditions expected in most parts of central Queensland and southern New South Wales, which are helping to lift total state prospects.
According to the latest three-month rainfall outlook (September to November), issued by the Bureau of Meteorology on 25 August 2022, there is a very high chance that cropping regions in the eastern states and South Australia will exceed their median spring rainfall. Western Australian cropping regions are likely to receive average to below average spring rainfall.
Winter crop production is forecast to reach 55.5 million tonnes, the fourth highest on record. Production is forecast to be well above 10-year averages in all states, including the second highest on record in Western Australia and the fourth highest in New South Wales. Sufficient levels of subsoil moisture at the beginning of spring and the likelihood of above average rainfall in most states are expected to support very high yield prospects.
Wheat production is forecast to be the second highest on record at 32.2 million tonnes, which is an 11% decrease from the record level reached last year. Barley production is forecast to reach 12.3 million tonnes, the fourth largest on record. Canola production is forecast to also reach the second highest on record at 6.6 million tonnes, a 2% decrease from the record reached last year. The estimate of last season's canola production has also been revised upwards by 260,000 tonnes. This revision comes as canola exports in the eastern states point to higher production than previously estimated.
Area planted to winter crops in 2022–23 is forecast to reach 23.5 million hectares nationally, a slight fall from last year’s record levels. This fall is driven by a 4% decrease in area planted in New South Wales and 16% in Queensland, which has offset increases in other states.
High costs of fertilisers continue to put pressure on growers to economise on their use for improving crop yields and quality. Some growers have withheld purchasing fertilisers ahead of time to reduce risks of over-purchasing and allow for more appropriate responses for their local crop conditions. In contrast, larger and more specialist operators, especially those in Western Australia, have held adequate fertilisers stocks. Ongoing waterlogging issues in parts of New South Wales and Queensland have also made field access difficult for applying fertilisers during late winter.
Plantings to summer crops in 2022–23 are forecast to remain well above average
The area planted to summer crops in 2022–23 is forecast to increase by 2% to reach 1.6 million hectares. This is supported by the combination of significant areas of land previously left fallow during winter in Queensland and New South Wales, ample soil moisture availability in late winter for planting crops, and the favourable seasonal conditions expected over spring. Summer crop production is forecast to reach the fifth highest on record at 5.2 million tonnes, remaining 6% below the record production of last season.
Production of grain sorghum is forecast to reach the fourth highest on record at 2.6 million tonnes, supported by well above average area and yields. Production of cotton lint is forecast to reach the third highest on record of 1.1 million tonnes.