Australia’s wheat crop forecast falls to 20.3 mln T

SINGAPORE, Dec 4 (Reuters) – Australia’s 2017-18 wheat crop forecast has been lowered, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) said on Tuesday, after recent storms damaged the crop and following a severe drought earlier in the season that reduced yields.

The world’s fourth-largest wheat exporter is forecast to produce 20.3 million tonnes of wheat this year, the agency said, down more than six percent from its September forecast of 21.64 million and 42 percent below last year’s record crop of more than 35 million.

“Favourable seasonal conditions during spring have boosted crop prospects in Western Australia but unfavourable conditions across New South Wales have adversely affected yield prospects,” ABARES executive director, Steve Hatfield-Dodds, said in statement.

“Yield prospects have also substantially declined in Queensland over spring.”

Australian farmers have had a tough wheat growing season.

Australia’s past winter, which runs from June to September, was the warmest since records began more than a century ago. It was also among the nation’s 10 driest seasons ever.

But heavy rains have arrived as the crop is being harvested causing further concerns and downgrading.

“While harvest is underway in most regions, progress has been slowed by rainfall throughout November, with December also forecast to bring more inclement weather than average for this time of year,” he said.

For canola, production is forecast at 2.9 million tonnes, up 5.5 percent from the September forecast but 31 percent lower than last year’s output.

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