December 9, 2008

Australia 2008 wheat crop up 54 percent at 20 million tonnes

The government's chief commodities forecaster, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural & Resource Economics forecast wheat production in the 2008-09 crop year ending March 31 at 20.0 million tonnes, if achieved up 54 percent from the previous crop and barely changed from an early November projection.

Barley production this crop year now is estimated at 6.4 million tonnes barely changed from a November estimate but up 8.5 percent on actual output of 5.9 million tonnes in 2007-08, according to a Crop Report issued by Abare.

Wheat and barley are the major components of an estimate for total production from winter crops this crop year of 30.6 million tonnes, down 14 percent from an estimate in September but up 36 percent on year.

Canola production this crop year is estimated at 1.3 million tonnes, unchanged from November, but up from 1.1 million tonnes in 2007-08.

Phillip Glyde, Abare's executive director, said the final size of 2008-09 winter crops is well down on midyear expectations due to dry spring weather in southern New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

But average to above-average late spring rainfall in summer cropping areas has improved the outlook for grain sorghum yields, though availability of irrigation water remains critical for cotton and rice production, he said.

Production from a sorghum crop planted in the 2008-09 crop year is estimated at 2.1 million tonnes, up a little from a September estimate but down 32 percent from the previous bumper crop of 3.1 million tonnes.

Cotton lint production in 2008-09 is estimated at 281,000 tonnes, up from 272,000 tonnes in September more than double last year's output of 133,000 tonnes.

Production from the new rice crop is estimated at 71,000 tonnes, up from an actual 19,000 tonnes previously.

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