The report is a quarterly report with a consistent and regular assessment of crop prospects for major field crops, forecasts of area, yield and production and a summary of seasonal conditions on a state by state basis.
Key issues • Condition of crops at the start of spring varied considerably between the states because of highly varied seasonal conditions over autumn and winter. ◦ Crops in Western Australia are generally in good to excellent condition with high yield prospects after a timely seasonal break and above average winter rainfall.
◦ Seasonal conditions in Victoria and South Australia were mixed and while crop prospects in some major growing regions are generally good, there are regions where crop prospects are generally below average.
◦ Seasonal conditions were very unfavourable in most cropping regions in New South Wales and Queensland and winter crop production in these states is forecast to be very much below average.
• Winter crop production will be heavily dependent on seasonal conditions during spring in regions in the eastern states (including South Australia) where soil moisture levels are low.
• According to the latest three-month rainfall outlook (September to November), issued by the Bureau of Meteorology on 30 August 2018, spring rainfall will likely be below average in most cropping regions. Warmer than average temperatures in September are likely in Western Australia and some parts of Queensland. Temperatures in October are likely to be above average in most cropping regions in Australia.
• Total winter crop production is forecast to decrease by 12% in 2018-19 to 33.2 million tonnes.
• Winter crop production in 2018-19 is forecast to be 9% below the twenty-year average to 2017-18 but forecast production is 91% above the lowest production level during this period. Production in Queensland and New South Wales is forecast to be 38% and 46% below 2017-18 while production in Western Australia is forecast to be 12% above.
• For the major winter crops, wheat production is forecast to decrease by 10% to 19.1 million tonnes, barley production is forecast to fall by 7% to around 8.3 million tonnes, and canola production is forecast to fall by 24% to around 2.8 million tonnes.
• Area planted to summer crops is forecast to fall by 20% 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 7% in response to favourable prices. Total summer crop production is forecast to fall by 16% to 3.5 million tonnes.