New South Wales

​​Australian Crop Report: February edition

Seasonal conditions during December and January were generally unfavourable for summer crop planting. Below to very much below average December and January rainfall and prolonged heatwave conditions depleted soil moisture levels and reduced yield prospects for dryland crops. Sufficient and timely rainfall over the remainder of the season will be important for ongoing development of dryland crops, particularly those planted late.

According to the latest three-month rainfall outlook ( March to May), issued by the Bureau of Meteorology on 14 February 2019, below average rainfall is slightly more likely than above average rainfall in most summer cropping regions in New South Wales (Map 4). All summer cropping regions are forecast to be hotter than average.

Area planted to summer crops in New South Wales is estimated to have decreased by 32% in 2018–19 to 419,000 hectares, reflecting low supplies of irrigation water and insufficient soil moisture in many regions for planting dryland crops. Total summer crop production is forecast to fall by 45% to around 1.2 million tonnes.

Area planted to grain sorghum in 2018–19 is estimated to be around 150,000 hectares, 17% below the 10 year average to 2017–18. Soil moisture levels were well below average at the start of summer and significant widespread rainfall was needed for planting intentions to be realised. However, December and January rainfall was below average. Prolonged heatwave conditions in late December and January further depleted soil moisture levels. Yields are forecast to be below average, resulting in grain sorghum production of 375,000 tonnes, 13% lower than in 2017–18.

Area planted to cotton is estimated to have declined by 44% to 174,000 hectares in 2018–19. Cotton production is forecast to fall by 43% to 371,000 tonnes of cotton lint and around 524,000 tonnes of cottonseed in 2018–19. The average yield is forecast to increase by 1% because area planted to lower yielding dryland cotton fell from 106,000 hectares last year to zero this year.

Area planted to rice is estimated to have fallen by 83% to 10,000 hectares in 2018–19 reflecting low water allocations in the Murray Valley and the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area. As a result, rice production is forecast to fall by 84% to 104,000 tonnes.

Table 5 Summer crop forecasts, New South Wales, 2018−19
CropArea
'000 ha
Yield
t/ha
Production
kt
Area change
%
Prod. change
%
Grain sorghum1502.503750–13
Cotton lint1742.13371–44–43
Cottonseed1743.01524–44–44
Rice1010.38104–83–84

​​Note: Yields are based on area planted, except cotton which is based on area harvested. Area based on planted crop that is harvested, fed off or failed.

Total winter crop production in New South Wales is estimated to have decreased by 60% to around 2.9 million tonnes in 2018–19, the lowest level of production since 1994–95. There was a significant fall in planted area because many crops planted for grain production were cut for hay.

Wheat production in 2018–19 is estimated to have fallen by 60% to around 1.8 million tonnes, reflecting a 31% fall in the average yield and a 42% fall in planted area.

Barley production is estimated to have decreased by 47% in 2018–19 to around 630,000 tonnes. The average barley yield is estimated to have fallen by 30%. Area planted to barley fell by 24% to 600,000 hectares.

Canola production is estimated to have fallen by 75% in 2018–19 to around 152,000 tonnes. Planted area fell by 71% to 190,000 hectares reflecting insufficient soil moisture at the time of planting. Significant frost events resulted in a further loss of area as many frost damaged crops were cut for hay. The average canola yield is the lowest in 10 years at 0.80 tonnes per hectare.

Table 6 Winter crop estimates, New South Wales, 2018−19
CropArea
'000 ha
Yield
t/ha
Production
kt
Area change
%
Prod. change
%
Wheat1,8001.001,800–42–60
Barley6001.05630–24–47
Canola1900.80152–71–75

Note: Yields are based on area planted. Area based on planted crop that is harvested, fed off or failed.

Statistical tables​​​

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Last reviewed:
18 Feb 2019