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Recent rains boost winter crop forecast

Brett Worthington, Monday June 17, 2013 - 10:15 EST
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Recent rain has given winter crops a much needed boost after a dry start to the year. - ABC

Forecasters are expecting a 10 per cent increase in Australian winter crops after a wet May and June.

The latest outlook from national commodity forecaster ABARES predicts improved wheat and barley crops, though canola yields are likely to fall after a dry start to the year.

ABARES executive director Paul Morris says winter crop yields are forecast to reach 40 million tonnes this year.

"It was a pretty dry start to autumn," he said.

"During March and April, there wasn't much rainfall, so farmers would have been getting worried at that time about whether they were going to get enough rain to get the crop in.

"But that rainfall in May came just at the right time, particularly for the cereal crops, and that really helped them to get a good start to the season."

The outlook predicts wheat yields will increase 15 per cent to 25 million tonnes.

Barley is also forecast to increase 10 per cent to 7.4 million tonnes, while canola yields are expected to fall 17 per cent to 3.2 million tonnes.

‚??That dry start to the season (meant) a lot of farmers weren‚??t able to get canola in, so that has affected canola producers particularly in NSW, Victoria and South Australia.

‚??So we are expecting the canola crop to be down a bit as a result of that, but the rainfall came at the right time for getting wheat and barley in and hopefully for the cereals we are going to get a good outcome.‚??

The Australian Crop Report estimated 2012-13 summer crops had fallen 9 per cent to about 5 million tonnes.

Mr Morris said sorghum crops would be down 23 per cent to 1.7 million tonnes and cottonseed down 17 per cent to 1.4 million tonnes.

‚??That was mainly driven by some pretty poor conditions at sewing time and so farmers weren‚??t able to get as much sorghum and cotton in the ground... because they didn‚??t have the soil moisture or the rainfall,‚?? he said

‚??But we are expecting a very good rice crop this year.

‚??Rice production is estimated to have increased... by about 26 per cent to around 1.2 million tonnes, so that is a pretty high level and the highest level in more than 10 years.‚??


- ABC

© ABC 2013

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