AUSTRALIA’s winter crop production for 2020-21 has come in as the second biggest harvest on record, increasing by 89 per cent on the previous year to 55.2 million tonnes (Mt), according to ABARES’ ‘Australian crop report – February 2021’ released today.
Acting ABARES executive director Jared Greenville said this was 7.4 per cent higher than the forecast presented in the December 2020 crop report.
“The upward revision was the result of yields continuing to exceed expectations as harvest progressed, particularly in New South Wales and Western Australia,” he said.
“Wheat production is estimated to have increased by 120 per cent in 2020–21 to 33.3 million tonnes.
“Barley production is estimated to have increased by 45 per cent to 13.1 million tonnes.
“Canola production is estimated increased by 74 per cent to 4.1 million tonnes.”
Summer crop below average
The 2020-21 summer crop season is forecast to be better than last year but still be below average.
The area planted to summer crops is estimated to be 1.04 million hectares—nearly three times larger than in the heavily drought-affected 2019–20 season.
Dr Greenville said yield prospects were expected to benefit from favourable rainfall outlook and mild temperatures forecast for autumn.
“Summer crop production is forecast to increase to 3.3 million tonnes in 2020–21,” Dr Greenville said.
“This is around 13 per cent below the 10-year average to 2019–20 because planted area remains below average due to limited planting in New South Wales on the back of large winter crop plantings and a poor start to the summer crop season in some areas of Queensland.
“Area planted to grain sorghum is estimated to have increased by 258 per cent in 2020–21 to 511,000 hectares. Production is forecast to increase by 409 per cent to 1.5 million tonnes.
“Area planted to cotton is estimated to have risen by 395 per cent in 2020–21 to 295,000 hectares, driven by improved soil moisture and greater supply of irrigation water in most cotton-growing regions.
“Yields are forecast to be below average due to a higher than average share of dryland cotton in northern New South Wales and southern Queensland. Dryland cotton yields less than irrigated cotton.”