Article by: Hari Yellina
According to one top private grains specialist, Australia’s record-breaking winter harvest in 2021-22 may be considerably larger than previously predicted. IKON Commodities announced new production projections for 2021-22, which were significantly higher than those released by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, the official forecaster (ABARES). The most recent estimate from ABARES was in November, when it forecast a national record 58.4 million tonnes, with 34.4 million tonnes of wheat.
IKON’s estimate of 39.04 million tonnes of production is 13% more than ABARES’ estimate. IKON’s president and CEO IKON and ABARES estimations diverged in one critical area, according to Ole Houe. “We spent a lot of time examining data and talking to growers in NSW, and while there were some concerns, there weren’t many growers who indicated their tonnage produced were substantially below last year,” Mr Houe said. In the latest IKON numbers, NSW wheat harvest receipts were down -6.34 percent from last year’s record, a far lesser decline than other agencies.
According to IKON data, Queensland and Western Australia were at the forefront of the upward trend. Much has been made of WA’s record-breaking year, however Queensland saw the largest year-on-year rise in wheat receipts, up 45.6 percent to 1.75 million tonnes, while WA saw a 32.4 percent increase to 21 million tonnes. Since IKON’s last assessment in November, Mr Houe said there has been a significant upward revision. “We increased total wheat production by 700,000 tonnes, or 1.8 percent, and we increased barley production by 2.74 percent and canola production by 3.06 percent,” he said. He predicted that the next ABARES crop report, due in the following weeks, will also show an increase in data. “According to a few other analysts, they’re all shifting their positions.”
Victoria and South Australia had comparable seasons in 2020-21, with Victorian wheat receipts up 1.9 percent and South Australian wheat receipts down 2.8 percent. Looking ahead, Mr Houe predicted that, based on good subsoil levels, IKON would provide a forecast for 2022-23 wheat output in excess of 30 million tonnes, much above the historical average of 25 million tonnes.