Drier and warmer than average seasonal conditions in cropping regions during December and January reduced prospects of summer crop production in 2018-19 according to the latest Australian Crop Report.
Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences acting executive director Peter Gooday said the unfavourable seasonal conditions curtailed planting of dryland summer crops in the latter part of the planting window, lowered soil moisture levels and reduced yield prospects of dryland crops.
Total area planted to summer crops is estimated to have decreased by 23 per cent in 2018-19 to around one million hectares with the estimated area planted to summer crops six per cent lower than the ABARES forecast published in the December.
Forecast planting of grain sorghum late in the planting window did not take place because of unfavourable seasonal conditions with total summer crop production forecast to decrease by 33 per cent to around 2.7million tonnes.
Grain sorghum production is forecast to fall by nine per cent to 1.3million tonnes, driven by an expected 10 per cent fall in the average yield resulting from generally unfavourable conditions in most summer cropping regions.
Winter crop production in Victoria is estimated to have decreased by 51 per cent in 2018-19 to around 3.7million tonnes, the lowest since 2015-16.
Planted area is estimated to have fallen by 13 per cent because significant area planted to wheat and canola for grains and oilseed production was cut for hay.
Wheat production is estimated to have declined by 51 per cent to around two million tonnes as a result of the average yield falling an estimated 46 per cent from the high level achieved in 2017-18.
In 2018-19 barley production is estimated to have fallen by 48 per cent to 1.1million tonnes mainly because of a 46 per cent decline in the average yield, while canola production is estimated to have decreased by 60 per cent in 2018-19 to 300000 tonnes because of a 40 per cent fall in the average yield and a 33 per cent fall in planted area.
‘‘Total Australian winter crop production is estimated to have decreased by 20 per cent in 2018-19 to 30.4million 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 17.3million tonnes, barley by seven per cent to 8.3million tonnes and canola by 41 per cent to 2.2million tonnes.’’