September 22, 2011


Australia's Victoria canola still on target to reach record



Australia's Victoria aims to produce its largest ever canola crop, according to the Australian Oilseeds Federation.


The area sown by 10,000 to 370,000 hectares but left forecast production unchanged at 570,000 tonnes.


At the same time, mice have been reported attacking some crops around the state and growers are being warned to monitor activity.


If the AOF's estimate of production holds, the Victorian canola crop will be the best since 450,000 tonnes were harvested in 1999-2000.


The federation said some Mallee crops were at risk of drying out.


"Crops are now patchy in this area, with an expected yield less than 0.9 tonnes per hectare," it said.


"Western Districts continue to look good, despite reduced area versus previous years due to wet conditions.


"There remains talk of spring planting for canola, but there is no evidence of this yet. Crops in the Wimmera and Central/East represent a typical year."


Dry conditions in northern NSW have been responsible for a reduction in that state's canola production. The AOF reduced its NSW forecast by 17,000 to 592,000 tonnes.


It said production would have been reduced further if good rain had not fallen recently. But it said insufficient rain in the west of the state continued to curb production.


Elsewhere in the state, soil moisture levels remained good.


"Pest and disease incidence is low, including mice numbers due to baiting and an overall cooler season," it said.


"Where mice are present, their impact is significant."


South Australia's harvest estimate has been cut by the AOF, with the state expected to produce a 355,000 tonne crop.


Blackleg disease has been higher than normal in the Mallee region, the federation said.


The West Australian crop has been left unchanged at 960,000 tonnes.

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