RECENT good rain in Queensland and NSW is expected to boost the upcoming grain sorghum harvest by about 66 per cent compared with last year to 1.8 million tonnes.
Nanjing Night Net

In its latest Australian crop report the national commodity forecaster, Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES), says good rains in December and January in parts of the summer cropping belt in Qld and northern NSW had boosted sorghum plantings by 23pc to 604,000 hectares.

The bulk of the increase has been in Qld which was now tipped to produce 1.2 million tonnes from plantings of 422,000ha.

ABARES modelling indicates some potentially top sorghum crops around Emerald, Biloela, Roma, Kingaroy, west of Dalby, Goondiwindi, Inverell and Gunnedah with good finishing rains.

The latest seasonal outlook for February to April from the Bureau of Meteorology has indicated a slightly higher chance of drier than normal conditions across the summer cropping regions of northern NSW and Qld.

NSW was forecast to harvest 585,000 tonnes of grain sorghum from 180,000ha.

The news for cotton isn’t so bright with plantings forecast at about 210,000ha compared with 392,000ha last year on the back of the reduced availability of irrigation water and soil moisture.

As a result ABARES predicted a 47pc fall in cotton production to 470,000 tonnes of lint and 665,000 tonnes of cottonseed.

Average yield was forecast to fall by one per cent to 2.2 tonnes a ha, down from the high average yield of 2.3 tonnes the previous season.

Rice plantings were forecast to fall by 7pc in 2014-15 to around 71,000ha on the back of water shortages in southern NSW with production forecast at 684,000 tonnes.

ABARES said Australia’s just-harvested winter grain crops produced 38.2 million tonnes, a fall of 13pc. National wheat production fell 12pc to 23.6 million tonnes while barley output dipped 18pc to 8 million tonnes and canola dropped 10pc to 3.4 million tonnes.

Tough seasonal conditions in Queensland, NSW and Victoria cut total winter grain production below the 10-year average.

Production fell to a lesser extent in South Australia (down 12pc to 7.6 million tonnes) and Western Australia (down 16pc to 14.6 million tonnes).

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