The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) has raised its estimate of total winter crop production to a record 43.4 million metric tons (MMT) for 2011-12, from 41.0 MMT in September. In its quarterly crop report, the agency said growing conditions over winter and spring were generally favorable in the major winter cropping regions, especially in Western Australia.
The agency raised its wheat production forecast by 1% to 28.3 MMT; barley production was raised by 4% to 8.5 MMT; canola production was raised by 5% to 2.5 MMT. "However, heavy late November rainfall in northern New South Wales caused flooding in some areas and lowered the quality of unharvested crops," it adds. "Wheat protein levels are expected to be relatively low across a number of winter cropping regions in 2011–12. A wet finish, combined with depleted nitrogen levels in soils, has contributed to this."
Link to full report.
ABARES says the total summer crop area is forecast to be largely unchanged in 2011–12 at 1.5 million hectares. "Increased availability of irrigation water is forecast to result in higher cotton and rice plantings, but grain sorghum plantings are forecast to be largely unchanged as a result of increased cotton plantings in response to high cotton prices and lower feed grain prices," it states.
The agency estimates cotton production to increase by 27% in 2011–12 to a record 1.1 MMT. "This forecast increase is in response to the prospect of better returns relative to alternative crops, improved supplies of irrigation water and favorable soil moisture profiles in most of the cotton growing regions in New South Wales and Queensland," it states.