Wheat, Australia's chief farm export produce, is expected to deliver less yields in the current financial year, according to the latest estimates issued on Tuesday by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Science (ABARES).
Total wheat harvest will only reach 22.5 million tonnes, 24 per cent less from the production that Aussie farmers have achieved in the financial year 2011-2012, the government agency has forecast on its report.
However, ABARES Executive Director Paul Morris has assured that the country's wheat export shipments would reflect virtually the same high numbers that were recorded in the previous seasons.
Mr Morris credited the bumper yields that were collected in previous harvest seasons, with the wheat stocks in August alone placed at about 11.5 million tonnes, which ABARES said was 100 per cent boost from the 2009 production of the crop.
The looming lower crop productions can be blamed on the dry spells that hit farms located in Western Australia and those in the south-east regions of the country, ABARES said.
"In contrast, conditions have been more positive in northern New South Wales and Queensland, where crops are forecast to achieve above-average yields," Mr Morris was reported by Fairfax as saying on Tuesday.
Also, the plunge in the projected wheat harvest for the present season will likely not hurt Australian farmers, the government agency said, as droughts not only in the country but also in the United States and Russia pushed up the global price for the crop by about 40 per cent as of June 2012.
Farmers in Western Australia, according to WA Farmers Federation, were hoping to capitalise from the strong global market price for wheat by contributing more to the national production but with the rains not measuring up to expectations, it'll be difficult to achieve this season.
The group's representative, Kim Simpson, told ABC that growers were frustrated that harvest is down while wheat prices have gone at twice the level from what was seen during the 2011 production season.
Other crops, according to ABARES, will also return less this financial year, with canola production projected to retreat by two per cent to some 2.8 million tonnes and canola yields to shrink by 19 per cent to around seven million tonnes.
Yet overall, Australia's summer crop production is expected to jump by five per cent to about 5.7 million tonnes while the winter yields for the remaining months of present financial year would drop by some 20 per cent to 36.2 million tonnes, the government said.
Still, the national harvest remains 17 per cent higher from what were posted in the past five years, Mr Morris said.
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