Australian crop report

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Australian crop report is a quarterly report that assesses crop condition and prospects for major field crops in Australia. It includes analysis of clim​​ate and ag​ronomic conditions and forecasts of area, yield and production in key producing states.

Australian Crop Report: December edition

Key issues

  • Winter crop production is forecast to fall by 23% in 2018–19 to 29.3 million tonnes, which reflects unfavourable seasonal conditions in most cropping regions in early spring.
    • September rainfall was very much below average in many cropping regions and the lowest on record in some others.
    • Significant frost events occurred in southern New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.
  • October rainfall was above average in most cropping regions in Queensland, northern New South Wales and Western Australia, and mostly average in other cropping regions.
  • The October rainfall arrived too late to benefit crops in many regions and on balance the benefit of this rainfall was much smaller than damage that resulted from the unfavourable seasonal conditions in September.
  • The combination of reduced crop prospects and high fodder prices provided producers in some regions with a strong incentive to cut many crops that were planted for grain production for hay. In some regions, particularly in New South Wales, many crops in very poor condition were either grazed or abandoned.
  • For the major winter crops, wheat production is forecast to decrease by 20% to around 17.0 million tonnes, barley production is forecast to fall by 18% to around 7.3 million tonnes, and canola production is forecast to fall by 39% to around 2.2 million tonnes.
  • Winter crop production in Western Australia is expected to account for 56% of national production in 2018–19, compared with an average of 36% in the 20 years to 2017–18.
  • Summer crop planting has begun in some regions and is expected to continue until February 2019. However current low levels of soil moisture in most regions is likely to constrain planting in the absence of further rainfall during the summer crop planting window.
  • According to the latest summer rainfall outlook (issued by the Bureau of Meteorology on 29 November 2018), there is no strong tendency toward either above or below average summer rainfall in cropping regions in New South Wales. Summer rainfall in Queensland is more likely to be below average than above average.
  • Area planted to summer crops is forecast to fall by 18% in 2018–19 to 1.1 million hectares driven by forecast falls in area planted to rice and cotton. Area planted to grain sorghum is forecast to increase by 8% in response to favourable prices.
  • Summer crop production is forecast to fall by 24% to 3.1 million tonnes.
    • Summer crops prospects are highly dependent on sufficient and timely in-crop rainfall because of low levels of soil moisture in many regions.

Australian cropping land use

Map of Australia showing boundaries of Australian agricultural land use.  
Note: excludes sugarcane
Source: ABARES 2017, Catchment Scale Land Use of Australia - Update September 2017, ABARES, Canberra, November. CC BY 4.0.

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Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, 2018

Download the full version of the Australian Crop Report: December 2018 No. 188.

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Australian Crop Report: December 2018​ No. 188 PDF 302.3 MB

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Last reviewed:
21 Jan 2019