TOUGH seasonal conditions and lack of rain are to blame for a reduced winter cropping forecast.
The latest Australian Crop Report indicates that the projected tonnage is set to decrease to 38 million tonnes.
In the report seasonal conditions are blamed, and wheat, barley and canola along with chickpeas were set to experience the biggest falls.
Meanwhile, the latest summer crop estimate had tipped sorghum and cotton to increase by 13 per cent.
Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud said varied seasonal conditions have led to varied crop outcomes across cropping regions.
“While our total winter crop production is forecast to decrease slightly to 38 million tonnes, some small increases are expected,” he said.
“This includes an increase in wheat production to 22 million tonnes and barley production to 9.2 million tonnes.”
“Good May rain for most grain-growing regions in Western Australia, South Australia and some parts of New South Wales assisted in the sowing of winter crops.”
“But lower than average autumn rain in Queensland and northern New South Wales has had an impact on how much farmers could plant there.
“We now all have our fingers crossed for good rains over the next few months so we can have a successful winter harvest.”
The total area planted in winter crops is forecast to fall by 4 per cent, but a significant increase is forecast for area planted to barley, up 10 per cent to 4.3 million hectares.
This is more than offset by forecast decreases in area planted to wheat, canola, chickpeas and oats.
“Total summer crop production is also estimated to have increased by 13 per cent in 2017-18 off the back of increased grain sorghum and cotton production.
“Sorghum production is estimated to have increased 45 per cent in 2017-18 to 1.4 million tonnes. “Cotton production is estimated to have risen 17 per cent to 1 million tonnes of lint and 1.5 million tonnes of seed.”