CROPPING

Winter crop production continues to climb

AUSTRALIA’S winter crop production has hit unprecedented levels, with all mainland states set to achieve record highs after experiencing favourable seasonal conditions.

Alex Paull
Winter crop production continues to climb

According to the Australian crop report, released on Tuesday by ABARES, total winter crop production is estimated to have increased by 49 per cent in 2016–17 to 58.9 million tonnes. 

Acting ABARES executive director Peter Gooday said the estimate was up 12% on ABARES’ December 2016 forecast. 

“The revised winter crop estimate was the result of yields being higher than anticipated and reaching previously unseen levels in most regions,” Gooday said. 

“On the flipside, 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 timing and quantity of rainfall over the remainder of the season will be critical to the ongoing development of dryland summer crops. 

“That said, with summer planting now largely complete, the total area planted is estimated to have increased by 15% in 2016–17 to around 1.4 million hectares, with total summer crop production forecast to rise by 12% to 4.2Mt.” 

The area planted for 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. 

“Area planted to irrigated cotton is estimated to have increased by 66% to 348,000ha and area planted to dryland cotton is estimated to have increased by 248% to 209,400ha,” Gooday said. 

“Rice production is forecast to be around 870,000 tonnes from 250,000 tonnes in 2015–16, with the area planted estimated to be about four times higher in 2016–17 than the previous year.” 

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