ABARES Forecasts Large Summer Crop, Record Winter Crop

February 14, 2012 12:35 AM

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARES) says generally favorable growing conditions for summer crops are forecast to drive higher yields and production for Australian summer crops in 2011-12. The agency says total summer crop production is forecast to rise 18% from last year to 5.4 million metric tons (MMT). Also, a record Australian winter crop in 2011-12 is forecast at 45.4 MMT, a 7% increase from 2010-11.

Link to full report.

The total summer crop area is estimated to be largely unchanged in 2011–12 as compared with area in 2010–11 at 1.6 million hectares. "Increased availability of irrigation water has resulted in slightly higher cotton and rice plantings, while grain sorghum plantings are estimated to have fallen by 6% to 632 000 hectares," it says. "Cotton and grain sorghum production is forecast to increase by 20% and 13% to around 1.1 MMT and 2.3 MMT, respectively, with rice production forecast to increase by 27% to 923,000 metric tons."

ABARES says the most severe flooding has occurred in the central north and northwest regions of New South Wales and the southwest region in Queensland. "However, since flooding generally affects low-lying areas that comprise a small proportion of crop area, the effects of flooding on summer crop production tend to be localized," it says.

Generally favorable conditions over the growing season in the winter cropping zone is estimated to have resulted in a record Australian winter crop in 2011-12 at 45.4 MMT, a 7% increase from 2010-11. Of the major winter crops in 2011-12, wheat production is estimated to be a record 29.5 MMT, compared with 27.9 MMT in 2010-11; barley production is estimated to have reached 8.6 MMT, 5% higher than 2010-11; and canola production is estimated to have risen by 16% to a record 2.8 MM%.

In releasing the Australian Crop Report today, Executive Director of ABARES, Paul Morris, said that despite the overall favorable outlook, some producers of summer crops in southern Queensland and northern New South Wales have suffered hardship because of the untimely heavy rainfall and flooding. "There is likely to be downgrading in crop quality and crop losses for these producers, however until the flood water recedes, the full extent of crop damage will be unclear," he said.

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