October 7, 2010
West Australia wheat crop faces gloomy harvests in 20-30 years
West Australia's main grain crop could suffer its worst wheat harvest in 20-30 years unless it receives rain imminently, a leading forecaster has said, even while upgrading estimates for the national crop.
Australian Crop Forecasters (ACF) raised by 500,000 tonnes to 23.9 million tonnes its estimate of Australia's wheat harvest in 2010-11, citing the generous rains in eastern states.
However, the upgrade belied a cut of 1.3 million tonnes, to 4.2 million tonnes, in its estimate for output in Western Australia, which typically accounts for roughly 40% of national production. Analysts warned that the state's harvest looked like coming in under 4 million tonnes if drought persisted.
The poor crop will also affect Australia's export potential, analysts added, echoing concerns from other observers of a "jammed" east coast infrastructure.
Analysts also forecast national shipments of 13-15 million tonnes in 2010-11. That would be a figure in line with those the year before when, on ACF estimates, the Australian crop was a more modest 21.7 million tonnes.