Winter crop plantings boosted by driving rain

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Winter crop report
Winter wheat plantings are forecast to increase by 27 per cent to almost 13 million hectares, delivering a 76 per cent boost to production over the previous season to 26.7 million tonnes

For the major winter crops, the area planted to wheat is forecast to increase by 27 per cent to almost 13 million hectares.

While the area planted to barley is forecast to increase by 8 per cent to just under 4.4 million hectares.

Falls in barley prices in early May occurred in the midst of planting, and did not significantly change planting intentions in the eastern states with many producers maintaining planned crop rotations.

Canola plantings are forecast to increase by 32 per cent and among other crops, area planted to chickpeas is expected to more than double to 531,000 hectares and area planted to oats is forecast to increase by 35 per cent to 951,000 hectares.

Winter crop production is forecast to increase by 53 per cent nationally to 44.5 million tonnes.

Yield prospects in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia are forecast to be above average given favourable levels of subsoil moisture at the beginning of June and the likelihood of above average rainfall in July.

Wheat production is forecast to increase by 76 per cent to 26.7 million tonnes, barley production is forecast to increase by 17 per cent to 10.6 million tonnes and canola production is forecast to increase by 40 per cent to 3.2 million tonnes.

Amongst other crops, chickpeas production is forecast to increase by 135 per cent to 661,000 tonnes and oats production is forecast to increase by 81 per cent to 1.6 million tonnes.

Good summer rain across the eastern states and in South Australia where the forecast for more rain has driven a forecast 23 per cent increase in overall winter crop plantings to 22.5 million hectares.

Western Australia has also managed to maintain average rainfall and only a few cropping regions in Queensland and Western Australia didn’t receive sufficient rainfall in May to fully realise planting intentions.

New South Wales and southern Queensland have been the major benefactors of the change in conditions, allowing them to plant successfully and get early sown crops germinating.

The three-month seasonal outlook from June to August from BOM indicates rain will continue to fall through winter and daytime temperatures are likely to be average in most cropping regions in Victoria and South Australia, and warmer than average in cropping regions in other states.

Summer crops

The sudden uplift in winter crop conditions was not available when summer crops were sown.

Summer crop production is a victim of the past drought and still lingering from the dry conditions prevalent at planting.

For 2019–20 it is estimated production has dropped by 62 per cent to 885,000 tonnes, driven by significant falls in grain sorghum and cotton production.

Grain sorghum production is estimated to have fallen by 74 per cnet to 298,000 tonnes, driven predominantly by minimal plantings in Queensland and northern New South Wales.

Average yields are estimated to be 2.1 tonnes per hectare, which is 29 per cent below the 10-year average.

A severe lack of irrigation water supplies has driven a major 72 per cent drop in cotton production in 2019–20 to 134,000 tonnes of lint and 189,000 tonnes of seed.

This is a result of the area planted being down by 83 per cent to 60,000 hectares, a level not seen since the 1970s.

Rice production also experienced a dramatic fall to  around 57,000 tonnes, the lowest since 2007–08, because of low water allocations and high water prices.

But take heart, now with the drought broken it is expected Summer crops will also return to their glory days for the next planting, as the Winter crop is now experiencing.