PREMIUM
Cropping

Bumper crops forecast for Victoria

Golden glow: A canola crop between Corop and Rochester. Production of canola is forecast to increase by 11 per cent to a record high of more than 5 million tonnes.

Despite a dry start in autumn, good winter rains are promising above average cereal and oilseed crops in most parts of Victoria, according to a leading commodity forecaster.

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences said most cropping regions in Victoria had a late start to the winter cropping season when below average autumn rainfall delayed seeding.

Yields are forecast to fall from last year in most states but still be above long-term averages.

Above average rainfall in June and July allowed growers to complete seeding and provided ideal conditions for crop establishment and growth.

Lower layer soil moisture levels were above average in early August in most cropping regions, which provided crops with a buffer against below average August rainfall. Crops in most regions were in a strong position at the end of winter.

The latest three-month rainfall outlook, issued by the Bureau of Meteorology, says spring rainfall is very likely to be above median in all cropping regions in Victoria.

It is also highly likely that northern cropping regions will receive rainfall in September that is above average.

ABARES says the favourable outlook for spring rainfall, combined with the solid foundation laid during winter, means yield prospects are average to above average in most cropping regions.

“Some northern cropping regions will need the timely rainfall expected in early spring,” the September ABARES report says.

Nationally, winter crop production in 2021-22 is forecast to be well above average.

The area planted to winter crops is estimated to be a record high and average yields are forecast to be above long-term averages in every state, but generally below those achieved in 2020-21.

Compared to last year, winter crop production is forecast to fall by two per cent in 2021-22 to 54.8 million tonnes, which is 32 per cent above the 10-year average to 2020-21.

The area planted to winter crops is estimated to be a record high at around 23.2 million hectares.

Yields are forecast to fall from last year in most states but still be above long-term averages.

For the major winter crops in 2021-22, wheat production is forecast to fall by two per cent to 32.6 million tonnes.

The average yield is forecast to fall by three per cent and area planted is estimated to have increased by one per cent.

Production of barley is forecast to fall by five per cent to 12.5 million tonnes. The average yield is forecast to fall by three per cent and area planted is estimated to have fallen by two per cent.

Production of canola is forecast to increase by 11 per cent to a record high of more than 5 million tonnes.

The area planted to canola is estimated to have increased 24 per cent to reach the third highest on record of just over 3 million hectares, boosted by producers responding to favourable world prices and excellent planting conditions in Western Australia and NSW.

The average yield is forecast to fall by 10 per cent from the record high of last season.

The estimate of last season's canola production has also been revised upwards by about 500,000 tonnes. This revision comes as canola exports in NSW and Victoria point to higher production than previously estimated.