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Australian crop prospects report

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Summary
Table of contents
The report is a quarterly report with a consistent and regular assessment of crop prospects for major field crops, forecasts of area, yield and production and a summary of seasonal conditions on a state by state basis. 


Key Issues 

2014-15 winter crop production

  • Prospects for total Australian winter crop production in 2014-15 have weakened as a result of drier than average seasonal conditions over winter and spring, particularly in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.
  • Compared with production in 2013-14, winter crop production in 2014-15 is forecast to fall in all the major producing states with large forecast falls in Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia. However, the expected falls in production in Western Australia and South Australia are from well above average levels of production in 2013-14.
  • Total Australian winter crop production is forecast to fall by 16 per cent in 2014-15 to 37 million tonnes, which is a 4 per cent downward revision from the ABARES September 2014 forecast.
  • At this forecast level, winter crop production in 2014-15 would still be around 4 per cent higher than the average of 35.7 million tonnes in the 10-years to 2012-13.
  • Wheat production is forecast to decline by 14 per cent in 2014-15 to 23.2 million tonnes. Barley production is forecast to fall by 22 per cent to 7.4 million tonnes and canola production is forecast to fall by 12 per cent to 3.3 million tonnes.
  • Harvesting of winter crops is largely complete in Queensland and northern New South Wales. Harvesting is underway in Western Australia, South Australia, southern New South Wales and Victoria.
2014-15 summer crop production
  • Total summer crop production is forecast to fall by 13 per cent in 2014-15 to around 3.2 million tonnes.
  • Less than favourable seasonal conditions during winter and spring in Queensland and northern New South Wales depleted soil moisture levels and irrigation water availability, resulting in unfavourable planting conditions at the start of the summer crop planting window.
  • The area planted to summer crops is forecast to fall by 13 per cent to 974 000 hectares, driven by a large fall in the area planted to cotton.
  • The area planted to cotton is estimated to decline to 210 000 hectares in 2014-15, down from 392 000 hectares in 2013-14. This reflects relatively low cotton prices at the time of planting and dry seasonal conditions over winter, which reduced the level of irrigation water in dams serving Australia’s cotton growing regions.
  • The area planted to grain sorghum is forecast to rise by 8 per cent in 2014-15 to 532 000 hectares. At this forecast level, the area planted to grain sorghum would be 24 per cent less than the 10-year average to 2012-13 of 702 000 hectares.
  • Because soil moisture levels are low in summer cropping regions, sufficient and timely in-crop rainfall will be critical for the development of grain sorghum crops in 2014-15.
  • The area planted to rice is forecast to fall by 7 per cent in 2014-15 to around 71 000 hectares, reflecting a reduction in the supply of irrigation water in New South Wales.