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 • Seasonal conditions were mixed during winter and as a result the condition of crops at the start of spring varied significantly. Rainfall was well below average in most cropping regions in June and was highly variable in July and August.
• Spring rainfall is likely to be around average in most cropping regions in Australia, according to the latest three-month rainfall outlook (September to November 2017) issued by the Bureau of Meteorology on 31 August 2017. The chance of rainfall exceeding the median during spring in parts of Western Australia is lower than average.
• Total winter crop production is forecast to decrease by 39 per cent in 2017-18 to 36.3 million tonnes, which reflects expected falls in yields from the exceptionally high yields of 2016-17. Production in 2017-18 is forecast to be 2 per cent above the 10 year average to 2015-16.
• The 2017-18 production forecast is a downward revision of 9 per cent from the ABARES forecast published in the June 2017 edition of Australian crop report.
• For the major crops, wheat production is forecast to decrease by 38 per cent to 21.6 million tonnes, barley production is forecast to decrease by 40 per cent to 8.0 million tonnes and canola production is forecast to decrease by 33 per cent to 2.8 million tonnes.
• Total area planted to summer crops is forecast to rise by 3 per cent in 2017-18 to 1.4 million hectares. Area planted to rice, irrigated cotton and grain sorghum is forecast to rise and more than offset a forecast fall in area planted to dryland cotton. There are plentiful supplies of irrigation water for irrigated crops but favourable rainfall in spring and early summer will be critical for the planting of dryland crops. Total summer crop production is forecast to rise by 21 per cent to around 4.6 million tonnes.