A 53% increase in winter crop production has been predicted for 2020-21, the Australian Bureau of Resource Economics Australian crop report – June 2020 has predicted.

The report also predicts a 23% rise in the area planted.

ABARES acting executive director Peter Gooday said the opening to the winter cropping season in 2020–21 was favourable, especially in the eastern states and South Australia.

“Winter crop production is forecast be to be 44.5m tonnes in 2020–21, which is 11% above the 10-year average to 2019–20,” Mr Gooday said.

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

The forecast assumes average seasonal conditions in spring.

The area planted to winter crops in 2020–21 is forecast to be 22.5m hectares,5% above the 10-year average to 2019–20 of 21.4m hectares.

“The majority of this increase is expected to be in New South Wales, where seasonal conditions so far are much more favourable than during the last two winter crop seasons,” Mr Gooday said.

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For the major winter crops, area planted to wheat is forecast to increase by 27% to almost 13m hectares, 8% above the 10-year average.

Area planted to barley is forecast to rise 8% to almost 4.4m hectares, also 8% above the 10-year average to 2019–20.

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

Wheat production is forecast to increase 76% to 26.7m tonnes, barley is forecast to increase by 17% to 10.6m tonnes and canola production is forecast to rise by 40% to 3.2m tonnes. Chickpea production is forecast to increase by 135% to 661,000 tonnes and oats production is forecast to rise by 81% to 1.6m tonnes.

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