Australia. Wheat production estimates continue to fall


AUSTRALIAN wheat production estimates have been slashed considerably in recent weeks, according to a number of reports.

Both the Rabobank winter crop outlook and International Grains Council October report have scaled back production to below 30 million tonnes for the season.

Rabobank’s forecast for Australian winter crop production was set at 29.3 million tonnes, while the IGC report put the figure at just 27.2 million, down on the September estimate of 30.5 million.

Wheat production estimates in Australia for 2018-19 were also set to take a hit, with the IGC estimate dropping production to 16.6 million tonnes.

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences’ snapshot of agriculture report published last week showed crop production in the eastern Australian wheat-sheep zone for 2018-19 was forecast to be down 53 per cent from the 20-year average.

The report attributes much of the nation’s production ­decline to NSW, where winter crop production was set to fall 65 per cent below the 20-year average.

And while Western Australia has been hit with frost in ­recent weeks, it was still set to produce a larger-than-average crop and offset the national ­decline, ABARES said.

As poor conditions continue, prices for feed have ­increased rapidly and were approaching levels similar to that of the 2006-07 drought, ­according to the report.

Cereal straw large bales ­delivered to Shepparton last week fetched $190 a tonne, while Feed 1 barley delivered to Melbourne was $430 a tonne.

The ABARES report said feed prices were likely to ­remain at current levels until additional fodder could be produced from next month.

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