Queensland

Australian Crop Report: June edition

The start to the winter cropping season in Queensland was generally favourable, with above average rainfall in March and early April, which boosted soil moisture levels in all cropping regions. Above average rainfall in southern Queensland during the first half of May further boosted crop germination and increased prospects of high yields in this region. In contrast, soil moisture levels in northern cropping regions in Queensland fell to below average by the end of May because of below average rainfall in late autumn. This means winter crops in northern cropping regions will rely on in-season rainfall more than other southern cropping regions to germinate and develop crops.

The high mouse population in southern Queensland has increased baiting costs for affected growers during autumn 2021. Farm management has so far minimised impacts on current crop plantings and development, but risks remain in spring if the mouse population surges.

According to the latest three-month rainfall outlook (June to August), issued by the Bureau of Meteorology on 3 June 2021, above average winter rainfall is likely in most cropping regions in Queensland.

Area planted to winter crops in Queensland is forecast to increase by 15% to 1.3 million hectares in 2021–22. This forecast increase is driven mostly by the favourable conditions in southern Queensland and available land left fallow during the summer cropping season. High wheat and pulse prices also provided an incentive to plant winter crops. Winter crop production is forecast to increase by 29% to 2.2 million tonnes due to yields forecast to be above average in southern cropping regions and average in northern cropping regions.

Area planted to wheat in Queensland is forecast to increase by 16% to 870,000 hectares in 2021–22. This forecast increase reflects very favourable seasonal conditions in southern Queensland and high wheat prices. The forecast average yield is slightly above the 10-year average to 2020–21. Wheat production is forecast to be 1.5 million tonnes, 32% higher than last year.

Area planted to Barley in Queensland in 2021–22 is forecast to decline by 11% to 120,000 hectares. This forecast decline reflects the current large availability of feed grain following the second largest winter crop on record last season. Production is forecast to remain unchanged at 240,000 tonnes because of expected higher average yields.

Area planted to chickpeas is forecast to increase by 22% in 2021–22 in response to favourable prices and very favourable soil moisture levels in southern Queensland. Production in 2021–22 is forecast to be 370,000 tonnes, which is 35% above last season.

Table 6 Winter crop forecasts, Queensland, 2021–22
Crop Area
'000 ha
Yield
t/ha
Production
kt
Area change
%
Prod. Change
%
Wheat 870  1.67 1,450  16  32
Barley  120  2.00  240 –11  0
Chickpeas  280  1.32  370  22  35

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

Summer crop production is estimated to have increased significantly in Queensland in 2020–21 compared to the drought affected production in 2019–20. Total production is estimated to have been 1.5 million tonnes, 9% below the 10-year average to 2019–20.

Grain sorghum production in 2020–21 is estimated to have been 1 million tonnes, 5% below the 10-year average to 2019–20 mainly due to lower average yields. Yields of crops sown in late December and January are estimated to have been generally higher than spring sown crops. Mice damage to grain sorghum crops in southern Queensland is expected to be less widespread than in northern New South Wales. But like New South Wales, contamination causing quality downgrades was the main adverse impact. While some producers suffered production losses, the mice did not significantly affect overall production volumes.

Cotton production in Queensland is estimated to have increased more than 7-fold in 2020–21 to 222,000 tonnes of cotton lint and 315,000 tonnes of cottonseed. This was achieved despite floods destroying more than 40,000 hectares of cotton crops in the Darling Downs, Emerald and Dawson-Callide regions in March.

Table 7 Summer crop estimates, Queensland, 2020–21
Crop Area
'000 ha
Yield
t/ha
Production
kt
Area change
%
Prod. change
%
Grain sorghum  380  2.63 1,000 139 219
Cotton lint  105  2.13  222 609 621
Cottonseed  105  3.01  315 609 621

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: 8 June 2021
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