Summary of key issues:
- The outlook for winter crops is promising with conditions for planting generally favourable across most regions of the cropping zone and a favourable outlook for seasonal conditions over winter.
- The winter rainfall outlook issued by the Bureau of Meteorology suggests an above average chance of exceeding median rainfall in most cropping regions in eastern Australian and an average chance of doing so in the cropping regions in Western Australia.
- The total area planted to winter crops in Australia is forecast to decline by 1 per cent in 2013-14 to around 22.4 million hectares, due largely to a decline in canola area caused by dry conditions in its autumn planting window.
- For the major cereal crops, the area planted to wheat is forecast to rise by 3 per cent to 13.7 million hectares and the area planted to barley is forecast to increase by 2 per cent to 3.8 million hectares. In contrast, the area planted to canola is forecast to fall by 17 per cent to 2.5 million hectares.
- Total winter crop production is forecast to rise by 10 per cent in 2013-14 to 40 million tonnes, reflecting an assumed increase in yields in many regions, particularly in Western Australia.
- For the major cereal crops, wheat production is forecast to increase by 15 per cent to around 25.4 million tonnes and barley production is forecast to increase by 10 per cent to 7.4 million tonnes. In contrast canola production is forecast to fall by 17 per cent to 3.2 million tonnes.
- Harvesting of the 2012-13 summer crops is now largely complete and total summer crop production (excludes cotton lint) is estimated to have fallen by around 9 per cent in 2012-13 to 5 million tonnes.
- Grain sorghum and cottonseed production is estimated to have fallen by 23 per cent and 17 per cent to around 1.7 million tonnes and 1.4 million tonnes, respectively. Australian production of cotton lint is estimated to have fallen by 17 per cent to 992 000 tonnes.
- In contrast, rice production is estimated to have increased by 26 per cent to around 1.2 million tonnes.