November 6, 2008


Western Australia's wheat output forecast has little change


Production forecasts for wheat and other winter grains in Western Australia have been raised only slightly after the last two months delivered a mixed finish to the season.


Wheat production in Western Australia from a crop being harvested mainly in November and December is estimated at 7 million tonnes, up only modestly from an estimate a month earlier of 6.9 million tonnes.


If achieved, the latest estimate will be up around 15 percent from an actual 6.1 million tonnes in 2007.


With only a small domestic market in the state for grain, most wheat produced is available for exports, making the state a major supplier to the global trade. Peak output in 2003 of 11 million tonnes accounted for 10 percent of global traded wheat.


A large area of the state's central and southern wheat belt was affected by frosts at the end of September and many paddocks have been cut for hay.


During October, a dry first half of the month caused yields to decline further in western and southwestern shires, however heavy rains at the end of the month provided a welcome nice finish to later sown crops, especially in the Esperance area, said the department.


Heavy rain, wind and some hail impacted on early matured crops in the Great Southern region, with some canola windrows in need of turning and there may be some quality issues with maturing grain being affected by damp conditions.


Total production from winter crops is now estimated at 11.3 million tonnes, up around 4 percent on a month-earlier projection.


New crop barley output is estimated at 2.5 million tonnes compared with an actual outcome of 2.2 million tonnes last year, canola production is estimated 913,000 tonnes from an actual 665,000 tonnes in the previous crop, while the new lupin crop will produce 412,000 tonnes this year compared with an actual 210,000 tonnes last year, the department reported.


Weather patterns remained neutral in October, with the Indian Ocean Dipole event that had affected winter rainfall ending.