Winter crop expected to enter record books

·1-min read

Australia's winter crop production is expected to be the second biggest harvest on record.

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences estimates in its latest crop report that production increased by 89 per cent in 2020/21 to 55.2 million tonnes.

ABARES executive director Jared Greenville said this was 7.4 per cent higher than the forecast presented in the December report, mainly as a result of better conditions in NSW and WA.

Wheat production is estimated to have increased by 120 per cent to 33.3 million tonnes, while barley is up 45 per cent to 13.1 million tonnes.

Canola production rose by 74 per cent to 4.1 million tonnes.

The 2020/21 summer crop season is forecast to be better than last year but still be below average.

Area planted to summer crops is estimated to be 1.04 million hectares, nearly three times larger than the drought-hit 2019/20 season.

Dr Greenville said yield prospects are expected to benefit from favourable rainfall outlook and mild temperatures forecast for autumn.

Summer crop production is forecast to increase to 3.3 million tonnes.

"This is around 13 per cent below the 10-year average to 2019/20 because planted area remains below average due to limited planting in NSW on the back of large winter crop plantings and a poor start to the summer crop season in some areas of Queensland," Dr Greenville said.

Area planted to grain sorghum is estimated to have increased by 258 per cent to 511,000 hectares, with production hitting 1.5 million tonnes.

Cotton area is expected to have risen by 395 per cent to 295,000 hectares, driven by improved soil moisture and greater supply of irrigation water.