Australia Predicts Bigger Wheat Crop After Autumn Rainfall

  • Western Australia, Victoria may harvest more wheat in 2016-17
  • Rain in May, June improved soil moisture in time for sowing

Australia increased its wheat production estimate by 3.6 percent after recent rainfall improved soil moisture in time for winter-crop sowing.

Output is set to total 25.4 million metric tons in 2016-17, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural & Resource Economics & Sciences said in a report. That compares with a previous estimate of 24.5 million tons and 24.2 million tons harvested a year earlier, the Canberra-based bureau said.

INTL FCStone Inc. this month raised its Australian production forecast, citing nearly perfect conditions across most of the country’s wheat belt. The wettest May since 1983 eased drier-than-average conditions in growing regions, boosting the outlook for crops that are planted from April. Production may be further buoyed by La Nina, which brings above-average winter and spring rainfall to eastern Australia.

“The start to the 2016–17 winter crop season has been generally favorable,” Abares said in its report. In Western Australia, “widespread favorable rainfall during late March 2016 prompted early sowing of crops, and continued above average rainfall through April and May assisted planting progress. All regions of Western Australia have now completed planting.”

Western Australia’s wheat crop, the country’s biggest, may total 9.3 million tons from 8.8 million tons a year earlier, Abares said. Winter crops were sown into moist soils, regular rainfall has replenished moisture and mild to warm temperatures have created optimum growing conditions, the Grain Industry Association of Western Australia said this month.

Farmers in New South Wales, the second-biggest wheat producer, may harvest 7.5 million tons in 2016-17, in line with last year’s crop, Abares said. Victoria may produce 2.7 million tons from 2.1 million tons a year ago, it said.

National canola production may reach 3.24 million tons from 3.27 million tons previously forecast and 2.9 million tons a year ago, the bureau said. Barley output may be 9 million tons, up from 8.6 million tons previously predicted.

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