THE latest Australian Crop Report has indicated crop yields have held up reasonably well in many winter-cropping regions, despite the dry seasonal conditions of the past few months.
The report was released earlier this week by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences in its December edition.
Executive director Paul Morris said that while the total winter crop production was forecast to be lower than the record harvest of last season, yields in many regions were aided by favourable levels of lower-layer soil moisture.
"In south-eastern Australia, seasonal conditions were generally consistent with the spring seasonal outlook the Bureau of Meteorology issued on 22 August 2012, which was incorporated into forecasts presented in the September edition of Australian Crop Report," Mr Morris said.
Australian winter crop production is forecast to be about 35.1 million tonnes in 2012-13, which is 23% lower than last year's record harvest and marginally lower (1.1 million tonnes or 3%)
than the forecast released by the bureau in September.
At this forecast level, winter crop production will still be around 14% higher than the average achieved over the five years to 2010-11.
For the major winter crops, wheat production is forecast to fall by 26% to about 22 million tonnes in 2012-13, barley production to fall by 18% to about 6.9 million tonnes, and canola production to fall by 16% to about 2.6 million tonnes.
Total summer crop production is forecast to remain largely unchanged from last season at about 5.5 million tonnes.
"The area planted to summer crops is
forecast to fall by 2% to just under 1.6 million hectares, largely reflecting an estimated significant decline in the area planted to dryland cotton," Mr Morris said.
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