The Australian Bureau of Agricultural Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) says dry seasonal conditions have resulted in a slow start to the winter cropping season, but plantings are now well underway across Australia. In its June edition of the Australia Crop Report, ABARES says dry conditions have resulted in poor establishment of the crop in Western Australia.
The total area planted to winter crops in Australia is forecast to fall by 2% in 2012–13 to around 22.2 million hectares. Assuming timely rainfall, total winter crop production is forecast to fall by 15% to around 38.5 million metric tons (MMT).
The report states the area sown to wheat and barley is forecast to fall by 5% and 4% to around 13.4 and 3.9 million hectares, respectively, with total wheat and barley production forecast to decline by 18% and 15% to 24.1 MMT and 7.3 MMT, respectively.
Canola production is forecast to increase by 4% to a record 2.9 MMT and favorable canola prices are forecast to drive a 23% increase in area planted in 2012–13 to a record 2.1 million hectares.
ABARES says harvesting of the 2011–12 summer crops is nearing completion and total production is estimated to have increased by 19% to around 5.5 MMT. This reflects higher yields for grain sorghum and cotton, and an increase in the area planted to rice. Production is estimated to have increased for cotton lint by 20% to around 1.1 MMT; grain sorghum by 13% to around 2.3 MM% and rice by 32% to 955,000 metric tons.