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Western Australia to Get Rain This Week, Boosting Crop Prospects

Grain regions in Western Australia, the nation’s biggest wheat grower, may receive rain this week, easing concerns that dry weather may curb planting.

Most of the main grain-growing areas will get as much as 5 millimeters (0.2 inches) in the four days to June 1, according to the Bureau of Meteorology. Some regions may get as much as 10 millimeters of rainfall during the period, it said.

Growers need rain to boost winter crops, including wheat, barley and canola. Western Australia had below-average rainfall in April and further dry conditions may curb planting, CBH Group, the state’s largest grain handler, said May 14. The country’s wheat production is set to drop 13 percent to 25.7 million metric tons as farmers switch to barley and canola, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences said March 6.

The rain forecast “means many producers will have enough moisture to complete their seeding programs,” Luke Mathews, a commodity strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, wrote in a note today. “Early-seeded crops in Western Australia will benefit greatly from any moisture” though the state “remains unfavorably dry”, he said.

Wheat has advanced 3.3 percent this year amid concerns that droughts from the U.S. to Russia may reduce output. The July-delivery contract fell as much as 1.1 percent to $6.7225 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade today and was at $6.745 at 10:58 a.m. in Singapore.

Eastern Australia

Between 10 millimeters and 50 millimeters of rain fell in Australia’s eastern grain-growing regions in the week ended May 28, according to the weather bureau.

“Last week’s rainfall will allow favorable early crop development across much of eastern Australia’s grain belt,” Mathews wrote. A forecast for more rain in the first week of June will maintain a favorable production environment, he said.

Most of New South Wales, the country’s second-biggest wheat producer, will get between 15 millimeters and 50 millimeters in the eight days to June 5, the weather bureau said. Some areas may get as much as 100 millimeters, it said.

Australia is the world’s second-biggest wheat exporter after the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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