Smallest winter crop in 10 years — Rabobank report
23 October, 2018
DROUGHT conditions rivalling the millennium drought will see little to no harvest for vast swathes of Australia’s east coast, according to a new report.
The Rabobank Australian 2018-19 winter crop production outlook report, released yesterday, said extreme dry weather and frost will see delivery of the “smallest winter crop in 10 years”, with the national harvest slated at a meagre 29.3 million tonnes.
National winter crop production will drop 31 per cent below the five-year average, according to the report, with no harvest expected for vast regions of the east coast.
The report also predicted crops taken to harvest may suffer estimated yield losses of 30-50 per cent compared to the average.
The report credited late to no rain at sowing, below average rainfall during the growing season, and above-average temperatures, coupled with damaging frost, for the reduction of harvest quantity and grain quality.
Conditions across Australia’s grain producing states have been so bad, comparisons have been made with the severe droughts of 2002-03, 2006-07, and 2007-08.
“If not for harvest prospects of Western Australia — the only state where production is up 3 per cent year on year — Australia would be facing its lowest crop production in the last 20 years,” the report said.
Dry conditions has placed pressure on east coast livestock producers, in turn elevating livestock feed demand, finishing grain stocks and leaving the east coast grain balance sheet “running on empty”.
Subsequently, the report predicted a decline in Australian grain exports in 2018-19, with estimated wheat exports of about 8.6 million tonnes, three million tonnes of barley, and a mere 1½ million tonnes of canola, down 52 per cent, 48 per cent, and 41 per cent respectively on average.
The report was published just days after the first grain deliveries were made to West Australian and South Australian ports.
Of the four port zones operated by CBH Group in WA, three of them — including Geraldton — have received the first grain deliveries of the season.
The Geraldton zone received 36 tonnes of canola delivered to port last week, while 76 tonnes of canola delivered to port on October 18 in the Esperance zone.
In the Kwinana zone the first load of about 16 tonnes of feed barley was received at the Koorda receival site, while Albany is yet to receive any deliveries for the season.
Viterra in South Australia received its first load of grain for the season, with a load of H2 wheat delivered into Port Pirie.