Australian Wheat Production Seen Jumping 91% on Plentiful Rains

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The Australian wheat harvest may almost double from a year earlier after widespread downpours in the key growing regions bolstered yields, according to a government forecast.

Wheat production is estimated at 28.9 million tons in 2020-2021, 91% more than a year earlier, according to the September crop report from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences. That compares with its June outlook of 26.7 million tons.

Abares also raised its barley output forecast by about 6% to 11.2 million tons, which is an increase of 25% from a year ago. The area planted with barley is tipped to rise by almost 9% from the previous year, despite the prolonged trade conflict with China, its biggest customer, which has levied tariffs of more than 80% on Australian exports of the grain.

“Favourable climatic conditions during spring are expected to support the ongoing development of winter crops and provide a good foundation for summer crops,” according to the report.

While winter crops are seen having bumper harvests after years of drought-affected supply, the farm labor shortage is spurring concerns. Restrictions imposed on state and international borders to contain the spread of the virus have left a shortfall of thousands of workers across the industry.

Other Abares estimates:

  • Canola output is seen rising 47% from a year ago to 3.4 million tons.
  • Chickpea production is expected to surge 152% to 708,000 tons.
  • Oat production is estimated to gain 93% to 1.7 million tons.
  • Overall winter crop supply is forecast to rise 64% to 47.9 million tons for 2020-21, 20% above the 10-year average.
  • Summer crop output is estimated to rise by 259% to 3.2 million tons, reflecting an expected increase in planted area and an assumed return to average yields from historically low yields in 2019-20
  • Grain sorghum production is forecast to rise by 480% to 1.7 million tons, which is 12% above the 10-year average.
  • Area planted to cotton is forecast to rise by 300% in 2020–21 to 239,000 hectares; area planted to rice is forecast to increase by 392% to around 27,000 hectares.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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