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Crop Yields May Be Curbed by Australia Frost, GrainCorp Says

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Oct. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Crop yields may be curbed by frost in parts of New South Wales, Australia’s biggest wheat producer last year, according to GrainCorp Ltd.

Yields on farms from Parkes, about 356 kilometers (221 miles) west of Sydney, through southern areas of New South Wales are expected to be impacted by recent frost, the company said in a report today. There have also been some patches of frost in parts of the Wimmera region in Victoria’s west, it said. GrainCorp is eastern Australia’s largest grain handler.

Wheat futures in Chicago lost 11 percent this year as global output heads for a record 708.9 million tons, the U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts. Farmers in Australia may harvest 24.5 million tons, the country’s agriculture forecaster said in September. Commonwealth Bank of Australia cut its crop forecast 6.5 percent to 23.6 million tons last week, citing hot, windy days and cold, frosty nights on the east coast.

“There’s been a range of reports of substantial damage in some areas and those areas have been relatively widespread,” said Michael Pitts, a commodity sales director at National Australia Bank Ltd. in Sydney. “Some crops, which were looking good, are being baled for hay.”

Queensland’s grain harvest is set to finish in the next two weeks as field work accelerates in central New South Wales, GrainCorp said.

Wheat for December delivery declined 0.4 percent to $6.8775 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade today. Australia is set to be the world’s fourth-biggest wheat exporter in 2013-2014, according to the USDA.

To contact the reporter on this story: Phoebe Sedgman in Melbourne at psedgman2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Poole at jpoole4@bloomberg.net

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