Australia is forecast to have its biggest winter crop on record, with yields of 46.1 million tonnes in 2016–17 according to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES).
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Barnaby Joyce said bumper winter crops are forecast, with increased production expected across all states for the first time in nine years.
“In a vast country like ours it is a challenge to have commodities performing well across the nation, so it’s great to see consistent positive crop predictions for our farmers,” Minister Joyce said.
“With many areas experiencing several seasons of drought conditions and a dry start to winter cropping, the weather leading into spring has been very kind to many of our farm businesses. Winter 2016 was Australia’s second‐wettest on record with well above average rainfall, the main exception being some Western Australian cropping regions.
“As a result growers are predicted to harvest their second highest wheat and barley production on record, and third highest canola production. ABARES latest Australian Crop Report estimates wheat production is projected to increase by 16 per cent to 28.1 million tonnes, barley by 11 per cent to 9.5 million tonnes and canola by 23 per cent to around 3.6 million tonnes.
“Despite optimal growing conditions with average spring rainfall predicted for most cropping areas, growers in waterlogged parts of New South Wales and far southern Western Australia will be hoping for conditions to dry out to avoid crop damage following consistently high winter rainfall.
“For summer crops, ABARES forecast the total area planted to rise by 21 per cent in 2016–17 to around 1.4 million hectares, with good planting conditions and a better supply of irrigation water than last season.
“Area planted to rice is forecast to be almost four times higher at 90,000 hectares. The area planted to cotton is set to rise by 76 per cent to 475,000 hectares. Total summer crop production is forecast to rise by 28 per cent to close to 4.8 million tonnes.”
This story was first published in Leading Agriculture magazine.