Article by: Hari Yellina (Orchard Tech)
Australian winter wheat crop production in 2021-22 is expected to be above average due to increased planted area, according to an Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) June report. The rise in planting is attributed to favourable weather and increased global commodity prices. Jared Greenville, acting executive director of ABARES, said while the winter wheat forecast is well above average there will be differences across growing regions.
Winter crop production is forecast to be 46.8 million tonnes in 2021–22, which is below the near-record high production last year but 13% above the 10-year average to 2020–21. Mixed yield performance due to tougher seasonal conditions in some areas is expected to reduce production despite the area sown to winter crops being forecast to reach a record high of 23.2 million hectares, up 2% from last year. Increased mice populations in the eastern states have resulted in producers undertaking more baiting than usual this season. This will increase costs of production in affected regions but farm management practices have so far minimized damage to winter crop plantings and development in affected regions.
While some producers are expected to incur production losses from the mice, Greenville does not anticipate the pest damage to impact the national wheat production average. Wet winter conditions have indicated a slowdown in inbreeding rates, but a possible resurgence of mice could occur in the spring along with warmer weather. For the major winter crops, the area planted to wheat is forecast to increase by 1% to around 13.1 million hectares. Area planted to barley is forecast to fall by 4% to around 4.2 million hectares.
Area planted to canola is forecast to increase by 25% to almost 3 million hectares, the third-highest on record. Area planted to canola is expected to be boosted by favourable world prices and excellent planting conditions in Western Australia and New South Wales. ABARES expects Australian winter wheat production to fall by 17% to 27.8 million tonnes but still be 15% above the 10-year average to 2020–21. Similar to wheat, barley production is forecast to decrease by 21% to 10.4 million tonnes but still be 7% above the 10-year average to 2020–21. Australian canola production is anticipated to increase by 4% to 4.2 million tonnes, which is 22% above the 10-year average to 2020–21.