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Wheat crop forecast unchanged after weekend rain in New South Wales and Queensland

Cath McAloon and Michael Condon, Tuesday August 19, 2014 - 13:52 EST
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More rain is needed to boost grain crops in eastern Australia. - ABC

Recent rain in has come too late to boost winter crop forecasts, but will help maintain the current outlook.

Grains analyst Hannah Janson, with Profarmer Australia, says if the rain hadn't arrived, the forecast wheat crop of nearly 25 million tonnes would have been significantly scaled down.

She says Queensland cropping areas got only half their average rainfall through to July, but the weekend falls mean August rains will be back to average.

"(The) Darling Downs reached average rainfall, but they weren't as well treated as other parts of Queensland, so that's probably one area where they are really going to be looking for follow-up rains quickly," Ms Janson said.

"The rains didn't seem to go much further past the central western region of New South Wales, so southern New South Wales and Victoria still definitely need more rainfall, particularly as we head into spring as the days start warming up and the crops really start developing quite quickly."

The weekend rain has not been enough to rejuvenate struggling crops in the north of NSW.

Technical specialist grain services at the NSW DPI, Peter Matthews, says some crops are dying and others are just limping along.

Further south, crop yields are looking at average or above average levels, but follow-up rains will also be needed in early September.

Overall, the prospect of a record crop, something that looked possible after the early break in NSW this year, is fading fast.

"This rainfall front will certainly help, but we were looking for 50 to 60 millimetres to come across in this front to push us into spring," Mr Matthews said.

"Most reports are now talking about 20 to 25, with better reports from Narrabri and Coonamble of 30 to 35 millimetres.

"We're really going to have to hang on for the next two or three weeks. (It's) not enough to really get us into spring."


© ABC 2014

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