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.
In this edition of the Australian crop report, ABARES will release its first set of forecasts of winter crop production in 2017-18 and estimates of summer crop production in 2016-17.
Key issues • The start of the 2017-18 winter crop season was mixed. Autumn rainfall was generally favourable in cropping regions in the eastern states (excluding South Australia), which resulted in favourable levels of soil moisture in these regions. In most cropping regions in Western Australia and some key cropping regions in South Australia, autumn rainfall was below average, which led to unfavourable planting conditions during autumn and early winter in these regions.
• Below average winter rainfall is likely in most major cropping regions, according to the latest three-month rainfall outlook (June to August) issued by the Bureau of Meteorology on 25 May 2017.
• The total area planted to winter crops is forecast to fall by around 1 per cent in 2017-18 to 22.5 million hectares. Area planted to cereal crops is expected to decrease but the area planted to canola, chickpeas and lentils is forecast to increase. Area planted to canola is forecast to rise in all major producing states, largely reflecting favourable expected returns compared with wheat, oats and barley.
• Total winter crop production is forecast to decrease by 33 per cent in 2017-18 to 40.1 million tonnes, which largely reflects an assumed fall in average yields from the exceptionally high yields of 2016-17.
• Total Australian summer crop production is estimated to have increased by 5 per cent in 2016-17 to 4 million tonnes because of large increases in cotton and rice production.