Summary of key issues:
- Seasonal conditions have been generally favourable for planting the 2014-15 winter crops in WA, SA, VIC and southern and central NSW.
- The Bureau of Meteorology's latest three-month rainfall outlook (June to August 2014), issued on 28 May 2014, suggests a drier than average winter for much of southern Australia and a hotter than average winter for all of Australia.
- Assuming a return to average seasonal conditions in the first half of 2015, it is expected that broadacre livestock producers will begin to reduce slaughter and rebuild stock numbers by that time.
- According to the Bureau of Meteorology (ENSO Wrap-Up, issued 3 June 2014), there is at least a 70 per cent chance of an El Nino event developing in 2014.
- Total area planted to winter crops is forecast to rise by 1 per cent in 2014-15 to 22.6 million hectares.
- Total winter crop production is forecast to fall by 12 per cent in 2014-15 to around 38.8 million tonnes.
- Wheat production is forecast to fall by 9 per cent to 24.6 million tonnes, barley production is forecast to decline by 22 per cent to 7.5 million tonnes and canola production is forecast to fall by 8 per cent to 3.5 million tonnes.
- Sufficient and timely rainfall over winter will be critical to the development of winter crops, particularly in those areas where soil moisture levels are presently low.