THE NATIONAL crop forecast ABARES has downgraded the country’s winter crop production outlook by 12 percent from its September estimate, with total winter grain production now predicted to come in at less than 30 million tonnes.
The total harvest, according to ABAREs, will weigh in at 29.3m tonnes, with wheat to make up 17m tonnes of that, the lowest since 2008.
It is less than half the bin-bursting 59m tonnes harvest of 2016-17.
Wheat production has been slashed over 2m tonnes since September, when the forecast was for 19.1m tonnes.
Western Australia is carrying the load, with over 50pc of national production out of the west.
Meanwhile, the ABARES numbers highlighted the depth of the east coast drought.
In NSW, wheat production is expected to dip below 2m tonnes for the first time in over 20 years.
It means transshipments of West Aussie wheat will remain a constant in order to meet east coast domestic market requirements.
WA’s good season has meant total production has not slipped to the lowest levels in recent history, the 2002-03 and 2006-07 droughts where national production for all winter crop hovered around 17m tonnes.
Canola, which requires wetter conditions to thrive than cereal crops, will be the worst hit by the drought, down 39pc year on year to just 2.2m tonnes, with the overwhelming majority of that production coming out of the west.