Feb. 16, 2017
Drier and warmer than average seasonal conditions in the cropping regions of Queensland and northern New South Wales over the past three months have reduced prospects for summer crop production in 2016–17. The recent unfavourable seasonal conditions have lowered soil moisture levels, curtailed the planting of summer crops in the latter part of the planting window and adversely affected yield prospects for dryland crops. The timing and quantity of rainfall over the remainder of the season will be critical to the ongoing development of dryland summer crops. However, favourable supplies of irrigation water mean the recent unfavourable seasonal conditions have not adversely affected prospects for irrigated cotton and rice.
Rainfall is likely to be below average and temperatures above average for the remainder of the summer crop season, according to the Bureau of Meteorology climate outlook for February to April 2017.
Planting of summer crops is now largely complete and total area planted to summer crops is estimated to have increased by 15% in 2016–17 to around 1.4 million hectares. The increase in planted area was driven by plentiful supplies of irrigation water and favourable planting conditions early in the planting window. Total summer crop production is forecast to rise by 12% to 4.2 million tonnes.
Area planted to cotton is estimated to have more than doubled in 2016–17 to 557,400 hectares, reflecting favourable supplies of irrigation water, high levels of soil moisture early in the planting window and expected favourable returns from growing cotton relative to production alternatives. Area planted to irrigated cotton is estimated to have increased by 66% to 348,000 hectares and area planted to dryland cotton is estimated to have increased by 248% to 209,400 hectares. The increase in the share of area planted to dryland cotton is forecast to result in a 21% fall in the average yield, and cotton production is forecast to rise by 64% to 1.0 million tonnes of lint and around 1.5 million tonnes of cottonseed.
Area planted to grain sorghum is forecast to fall by 35% in 2016–17 to 441,000 hectares, largely because of higher expected returns from growing cotton. Additionally, late season planting is expected to be minimal because of unfavourable seasonal conditions over the past three months. These conditions are also expected to constrain the average yield, with production forecast to fall by 41% to 1.2 million tonnes.
Area planted to rice is estimated to be almost four times higher in 2016–17 than the previous year because of an increase in the supply of irrigation water available to rice growers. Rice production is forecast to increase to 870,000 tonnes from 250,000 tonnes in 2015–16.
a Cotton area is estimated harvested area. f ABARES forecast.
s ABARES estimate. Note: Crop year refers to crops planted during
the 12 months to 31 March. Slight discrepancies may appear between
tables as a result of including the Northern Territory and the Australian
Capital Territory in Australian totals.
Sources: ABARES; Australian Bureau of Statistics
Harvesting of winter crops is almost finished, with only small areas yet to be harvested in Victoria. Generally favourable seasonal conditions pushed national winter crop production to a new record high. All mainland states are estimated to have achieved record highs.
Total Australian winter crop production is estimated to have increased by 49% in 2016– 17 to 58.9 million tonnes. This estimate represents a 12% upward revision to the December 2016 Australian crop report forecast. The revision was the result of yields being higher than anticipated and reaching unprecedented levels in most regions.
For the major winter crops, wheat production is estimated to have risen by 45% to a record high of 35.1 million tonnes, barley production by 56% to a record high of 13.4 million tonnes, canola production by 41% to equal the record high of 4.1 million tonnes achieved in 2012–13 and chickpea production by 40% to a record high of 1.4 million tonnes.
s ABARES estimate. Note: Slight discrepancies may appear between
tables as a result of including the Northern Territory and Australian
Capital Territory in Australian totals. Sources: ABARES; Australian
Bureau of Statistics; Pulse Australia