Queensland

​​​​​Australian Crop Report: September edition

Winter crop production prospects in Queensland are mixed at the beginning of spring because of variable seasonal conditions over winter. Rainfall in southern Queensland in June and July was average to below average but timely rainfall in early and mid-August generally boosted crop prospects in this region. However, August rainfall in central and northern cropping regions in Queensland was average and insufficient to boost crop prospects in these regions.

The latest 3 monthly climate outlook (September to November) released by the Bureau of Meteorology, on 3 September 2020, indicates that rainfall in most Queensland cropping regions is likely to be above average.

The rainfall forecast for spring in Queensland cropping regions, if realised, will sustain average yield prospects in southern cropping regions in Queensland but is expected to arrive too late and be largely insufficient to improve yield prospects in central and northern cropping regions.

Winter crop production in Queensland is forecast to be around 1.7 million tonnes, which is 4% below the 10-year average to 2019–20. Forecast production is 147% higher than drought affected production in 2019 –20, driven by an estimated 75% increase in planted area and an expected 41% improvement in state wide average yields. Winter crop production in Queensland is expected to be constrained by below average production forecast for central and northern cropping regions.

Wheat production is forecast to be 1.1 million tonnes in 2020–21, significantly higher than drought affected production last season but still 4% below the 10-year average to 2019–20. Area planted to wheat is estimated to be 750,000 hectares, which is a 17% downward revision from the forecast in the June edition of Australian crop report. This is because rainfall in June was generally insufficient for growers to fully realise planting intentions, especially in central and northern cropping regions. The state wide average yield is forecast to be 1.5 tonnes per hectare, which is 10% below the 10-year average to 2019–20.

Barley production is forecast to rise significantly to 270,000 tonnes in 2020–21, which is 27% above the 10-year average to 2019–20. This is largely driven by an estimated 200% increase in planted area to 135,000 hectares, which is 31% above the 10-year average to 2019–20. The estimated increase in planted area resulted from an increase in planted area in southern cropping regions.

Chickpea production is forecast to rise by 62% to 275,000 tonnes in 2020–21, 21% below the 10-year average 2019–20. This reflects an estimated 35% increase in area planted to chickpeas to 230,000 hectares, which is 11% below the 10-year average to 2019–20 and an average yield expected to be 5% below the 10-year average to 2019–20.

Table 6 Winter crop forecasts, Queensland, 2020–21
Crop Area
'000 ha
Yield
t/ha
Production
kt
Area change
%
Prod. Change
%
Wheat 750 1.47 1103 88 163
Barley 135 2.00 270 200 350
Chickpeas 230 1.20 275 35 62

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 Queensland is forecast to increase to 650,000 hectares in 2020–21, around 5% higher than the 10-year average to 2019–20, driven by an expected significant increase in area planted to grain sorghum and cotton from the drought affected season in 2019–20. Summer crop production in Queensland is forecast to increase to 1.7 million tonnes, 4% above the 10-year average to 2019–20.

Area planted to grain sorghum is forecast to rise significantly in 2020–21 to 450,000 hectares, 22% above the 10-year average to 2019–20. The expected increase in planted area reflects an expected improvement in seasonal conditions for summer crop planting, favourable grain sorghum prices and the availability of land left fallow earlier in the year because of unfavourable planting conditions for winter crops.

Area planted to cotton is forecast to increase significantly in 2020–21 to 104,000 hectares but remain 28% below the 10-year average to 2019–20. An increase in area planted to irrigated cotton is expected to result from recharges of on-farm water storages in southern cropping regions. Area planted to dryland cotton is also expected to rise significantly from last season when most producers opted not to plant because of drought conditions.

Table 7 Summer crop forecasts, Queensland, 2020–21
Crop Area
'000 ha
Yield
t/ha
Production
kt
Area change
%
Prod. change
%
Grain sorghum 450 2.83 1274 246 390
Cotton lint 104 1.74 181 494 367
Cottonseed 104 2.47 257 494 367

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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