Compiled by Dr Mike Taverner from media and industry reports — up-to-date at the time Ground Cover was prepared for publication. Readers are advised to seek independent advice if they intend to act on these market signals
- The severity of the current drought is exemplified by the poor winter grain crop. The 2002-03 harvest has been estimated at 15.4 million tonnes, down 24.3 million tonnes from last season, and the smallest winter grains crop since 1982-83 when production was 12 million tonnes.
- Wheat production is forecast to have fallen by 62 per cent to 9.4 million tonnes and barley by 61 per cent to 3.3 million tonnes in 2002-03. Of the other major winter grains, canola production is estimated to have fallen by 65 per cent to 0.6 million tonnes and lupin production by over 56 per cent to 0.5 million tonnes.
- Summer crop production has been severely affected by a shortage of irrigation water, which has resulted in a major reduction in the area sown to cotton and rice. Summer dryland crops were generally planted under less than ideal conditions and rainfall in December and January was generally well below average.
- While beneficial rains fell in some parts of the summer cropping regions in Queensland in early February, summer crop production is forecast to decline to 1.95 million tonnes, 62 per cent lower than last season.
Winter crop production (Mt)
Summer crop production (Mt)