November 26, 2003

 

 

Drought in Australia Cut Grain Production By More Than 50 %

 

The drought in Australia has cut grain production by more than 50% and pushed sheep numbers to their lowest level in 50 years, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said today.

 

In a report on agricultural commodities, the bureau said wheat production fell 59% to 10.1 million tons in 2002-03.

 

The biggest fall was in NSW (New South Wales) where it dropped 68% to 2.5 million tons.

 

Sorghum was down 23% to 1.5 million tons.

 

The bureau said sheep numbers dropped to 98.3 million, the lowest level since 1947.

 

In NSW alone, the number of sheep dropped 11% to 4.3%, while in Queensland they dropped 34% to 2.3 million.

 

Lamb numbers dropped three million to 34.2 million.

 

But cattle numbers remained relatively stable; with beef cattle numbers down 600,000 to 24.1 million while dairy cattle numbers were down 40,000 to just under three million.