GRAIN growers across Australia will look back on 2020 as a year when, after enduring long-running drought, the season finally turned around, setting the nation up to produce its second largest grain crop on record.
The national grain crop in 2020 surpassed 50 million tonnes (Mt), with wheat production alone jumping by more than 100 per cent on the previous year to around 30Mt.
But growers will also remember 2020 as a year when events beyond the farm gate had a profound impact on their lives.
The big news of 2020 was the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic early in the year which continues to dominate world headlines. Fortunately, the impact on Australian agriculture has not been as dramatic as it has in many other industries. Despite some restrictions, farmers have continued to produce the crops and other farm products that have been crucial to assuring food security in these testing times.
In May, barley growers bore the brunt of rising tensions between China and Australia when China slapped an 80.5 per cent tariff on Australian barley imports, virtually closing the market overnight and forcing growers and marketers to seek alternative destinations. The impasse shows no signs of abating soon, with Australia announcing it will take China to the World Trade Organisation to challenge its imposition of the tariff.
In a snapshot of the ‘year that was’ in the Australian grain industry, Grain Central takes a look back over the stories that led the news in 2020.
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