Australian farmers have harvested their largest-ever wheat crop, according to the latest crop report issued by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences issued Feb. 16. ABARES estimated the 2020-21 Australian wheat crop at 33.337 million tons, up 18.172 million tons, or 120%, from the drought-reduced 2019-20 outturn of 15.165 million tons.
The 2020-21 wheat crop was 5% larger than the previous record outturn of 31.819 million tons in 2016-17 and compared with the recent five-year average outturn of 21.6 million tons.
“Harvesting of winter crops (including wheat) is now largely complete,” ABARES said in a commentary accompanying its crop report. “National production is estimated to have increased 89% in 2020-21 to 55.2 million tons, 7.4% higher than the forecast presented in the December 2020 edition of the Australian crop report. The upward revision was the result of yields continuing to exceed initial forecasts as harvest progressed, particularly in New South Wales and Western Australia.”
The higher estimate for 2020-21 wheat production will be reflected in the March US Department of Agriculture World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report, which will be issued on March 9.
The current USDA forecast for 2020-21 Australian wheat production was 30 million tons.
Australian harvest was predicted
Australia was poised to produce its second-largest wheat crop on record in 2020-21, more than doubling last year’s drought-affected estimate of 15.2 million tons, according to a Jan. 26 report from the US Department of Agriculture’s Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN).
This year’s projected crop of 31 million tones, if realized, would rank behind only the 2016-17 season when nearly 33 million tones-of wheat were harvested.
The report noted that GrainCorp, the major grain handler in the New South Wales region, is reporting a huge increase in wheat receivables with the company has taken in 8.4 million tons as of mid-January, compared to only 500,000 tons at the same time last year.
“This is a monumental turnaround that has strongly supported Australia’s forecast wheat production of 31 million tons,” the report said.