There is a mixed outlook for the winter crop which is forecast to fall by 34% to 45.2mt in 2023/24 according to the Australian Crop Report from ABARES, an upward revision from the June forecast but below the 10-year average to 2022/23 of 46.4mt. Wheat production is forecast to fall by 36% to 25.4mt, 4% below the 10-year average, while barley production has been revised upwards since the June forecast and is now expected to be down by 26% on 2022/23 to 10.5mt, 6% below the 10-year average. Canola production is forecast at 5.2mt, and while the forecast is down 38% on the prior year it remains above the 10-year average as area planted is estimated to be the second highest on record.
Better-than-expected early rainfall has boosted soil moisture, benefitting crop establishment and growth across southern NSW, Victoria, South Australia and southern cropping regions in WA. Meanwhile, planting and establishment conditions were unfavourably dry in Queensland, northern NSW and northern and eastern cropping regions of WA, leading to some winter crops experiencing moisture stress with below average yields forecast. With an increased chance of dry spring conditions is expected to negatively affect yield potential in cropping regions with low soil moisture such as southern Qld, northern NSW and the northern and eastern cropping regions of WA. ABARES also warn an expected El Niño will reduce production prospects.
ABARES expects the dry outlook to reduce summer crop plantings with area planted in 2023/24 expected to fall 15% to 1.3m ha due to below average rainfall and declining stored soil moisture in key summer cropping regions in Qld and NSW. If the rainfall outlook is realised Australian summer crop production is tipped to fall 19% to 4.1mt in 2023/24.