Australia Seen Harvesting Second-Biggest Wheat Crop After Rain

  • Output forecast at 28.1 million tons in 2016-17: Abares
  • Barley crop estimated to climb to second-largest on record

Australian farmers are set to harvest the second-biggest wheat crop on record after winter rain boosted plant development.

Production may total 28.1 million metric tons in 2016-17, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural & Resource Economics & Sciences said in a report. That compares with the agency’s June estimate of 25.4 million tons and 24.2 million tons a year earlier. Farmers typically begin harvesting wheat starting next month.

A bigger Australian crop will add to global stockpiles already forecast at a record and further pressure benchmark Chicago prices that are heading for a fourth annual loss. Australia had its second-wettest winter on record after the end of El Nino conditions, according the Bureau of Meteorology. The country’s total winter crop production, including wheat and barley, is set to climb to a record 46.1 million tons in 2016-17, Abares said.

“Seasonal conditions in most cropping regions during winter were very favorable, and crops are generally in very good condition at the beginning of spring,” the report said. “In the eastern states, including South Australia, winter rainfall was average to above-average. In Western Australia, winter rainfall was more variable but timely and the season opening was generally very favorable.”

Western Australia’s wheat crop, the country’s biggest, may total 10.5 million tons from 9.3 million tons forecast in June, Abares said. Production in New South Wales, the second-biggest grower, is set to total 7.95 million tons from 7.5 million tons estimated in June, it said.

Australia’s barley output will reach 9.5 million tons, the second-biggest on record and up from June’s estimate of 9 million tons. Canola production will probably be 3.6 million tons from 3.2 million tons predicted in June. Cotton output may total about 875,000 tons in 2016-17, up from 579,000 tons a year earlier.

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