August 12, 2008


Western Australia's wheat crop to reach 10 million tonnes


Wheat production in Western Australia state - one of the global wheat trade's major swing producing regions - could reach 10 million tonnes this year, Derek Clauson, president of the grains section at lobby Western Australian Farmers Federation, said Monday (August 11).


Production estimates for the state's crop currently range from 8 million tonnes to 10 million tonnes, with the actual total depending on spring weather conditions ahead of a harvest, mostly in November and December, Clauson said.


Crop prospects in the state lifted after average rainfall in July. Some crops were planted late and need a "nice, easy finish to the season to get the maximum out of them, but it's very dry at the moment," he said.


"Estimates have gone up and there's some pretty good looking crop around," said Clauson, who farms in the district around Bencubbin town, 270 kilometres northeast of Perth city.


The state Department of Agriculture & Food last Wednesday (August 6) issued a wheat crop estimate of 7.1 million tonnes. The actual output in 2007 was 6.1 million tonnes.


With only a small domestic market in Western Australia for grain, most wheat produced is available for export. In 2003, the peak output of 11 million tonnes accounted for 10 percent of global traded wheat.


A national production forecast of 23.7 million tonnes, issued mid-June by the government's Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, included an estimate of 8.3 million tonnes for Western Australia.

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