State’s crops up

By Rodney Woods

Victoria’s total area of planted crops has increased slightly in the past 12 months despite an overall drop across the country due partly to a major decrease in NSW.

That is according to Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences’ quarterly Australian crop report.

The government report also predicts winter crop production to fall in 2018-19 to 37.7million tonnes from 37.8million tonnes the previous year, with canola and chickpeas forecast to decrease, while wheat and barley production are likely to increase.

ABARES’ executive director Steve Hatfield-Dodds said the latest Australian crop report provided a mixed outlook for Australia’s winter crops.

‘‘Lower than average autumn rainfall significantly constrained planting intentions and uneven rainfall at the end of autumn led to a mixed start to the upcoming winter crop season,’’ Dr Hatfield-Dodds said.

The country’s total area planted to winter crops is forecast to decrease by four per cent to 21 million hectares, which includes a drop in area planted to canola, chickpeas and lentils.

Closer to home, the NSW planting area dropped 13 per cent from 5496000ha in 2017-18 to 4798000ha in 2018-19.

However, Victoria’s increased by one per cent from 3333000ha to 3378000ha across the same period.

Summer crop production is estimated to have increased by 13 per cent in 2017-18, which was driven largely by increased sorghum and cotton production.

Rice production is estimated to have been 631000 tonnes, a reduction of 22 per cent from the previous year.