Western Australia

​​​Australian Crop Report: June edition

Soil moisture levels during the winter crop planting window were below average to average in most Western Australian cropping regions. Less dry sowing took place this season due to timely rainfall in early May, while rainfall in late May has left most cropping regions with average upper layer soil moisture leading into winter. Strong winds in late May caused minor damage to emerging crops in northern cropping regions. Re-sowing any damaged crops with wheat or barley is expected to reduce any adverse impact of these winds on planted area and production.

There is no strong tendency toward either higher or lower than average winter rainfall in Western Australian cropping regions, according to the latest three-month rainfall outlook (June to August) issued by the Bureau of Meteorology on 4 June 2020. While rainfall in June is forecast to be below average, the outlook from July has a higher chance of exceeding median rainfall. Assuming average and timely rainfall starting in July and continuing through spring, yields can be expected to be around average.

Winter crop planted area in Western Australia is forecast to increase by 5% in 2020–21 to 8.3 million hectares, 3% higher than the 10-year average to 2019–20. Winter crop production is forecast to be 15.3 million tonnes.

Area planted to wheat is forecast to increase by 6% in 2020–21 to 4.8 million hectares, 1% above the 10-year average to 2019–20. Expected higher margins for wheat than barley provided an incentive to increase area planted to wheat. Production is forecast to be 8.6 million tonnes.

Area planted to barley is forecast to decrease by 9% in 2020–21 to 1.6 million hectares, 11% above the 10-year average to 2019–20. Higher margins on wheat are expected to have provided an incentive to shift out of barley in the central and northern regions. Production is forecast to be 3.9 million tonnes.

Area planted to canola is forecast to increase by 21% in 2020–21 to 1.2 million hectares, 5% below the 10-year average to 2019–20. This largely reflects more favourable rainfall and soil moisture than last year during the canola planting window in the southern cropping regions However, area planted to canola remains below average due to less favourable seasonal conditions for canola in northern cropping regions. Production is expected to be 1.4 million tonnes.

Table 10 Winter crop forecasts, Western Australia, 2020–21
Crop Area
'000 ha
Area change
Prod. change
Wheat 4,750 1.81 8,600 6 48
Barley 1,600 2.44 3,900 –9 1
Canola 1,150 1.22 1,400 21 22
Lupins 350 1.40 490 0 40

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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