Australia. Lowest grain production in more than 20 years


WHILE Western Australia produced its second-largest winter crop on record last year, other parts of the nation recorded their lowest levels of grain production for more than 20 years, a report out today reveals.

The February Australian crop report, released today by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, attributed lower yields to drier and warmer than average seasonal conditions during the 2018-19 season.

ABARES acting executive director Peter Gooday said unfavourable conditions ate into planting of dryland summer crops in the latter part of the planting window, while also lowering soil moisture reserves and reducing the yield prospects for dryland crops.

“Total area planted to summer crops is estimated to have decreased by 23 per cent in 2018-19 to around 1 million ha, mainly because of falls in area planted to cotton and rice,” Mr Gooday said.

“Production is forecast to fall by 33 per cent to around 2.7 million tonnes.”

While WA recorded boosted grain production in the 2018-19 season, crop yields across the rest of the nation are estimated to have fallen well below average.

Winter crop production in WA reached an estimated 17.7 million tonnes for the 2018-19 season, the second largest WA crop on record.

“However, total Australian winter crop production is estimated to have decreased by 20 per cent in 2018-19 to 30.4 million tonnes because of below average yields in the eastern states,” Mr Gooday said.

“Production of all major winter crops is estimated to have fallen, wheat by 19 per cent to 17.3 million tonnes, barley by 7 per cent to 8.3 million tonnes and canola by 41 per cent to 2.2 million tonnes.”

Total winter crop production in NSW dropped an estimated 60 per cent to about 2.9 million tonnes in the 2018-19 season, the lowest levels since 1994-95.

In Victoria, total winter crop production was estimated to have dropped 51 per cent last season to about 3.7 million tonnes, the lowest since the 2015-16 season.

Australian chick pea production is estimated to have slipped by a whopping 76 per cent to a meagre 281,000 tonnes.

Winter crop area across Australia is estimated to have fallen by 18 per cent in 2018-19 to 18.2 million ha.

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