Western Australia grain output moves further up amid rains: GIWA

Record yields reported from the state’s main agriculture body

Russian wheat output


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Western Australia’s wheat production forecasts continue to rise amid record yields reported in separate parts of the state, according to a monthly report from the state’s main agriculture body, released Friday December 17.

However, the agency tempered expectations for the next crop warning that the planted area is likely to fall while the impact of increased input costs will pare back yields, the Grain Institute of Western Australia (GIWA) said.

Total grain production for the state – Australia’s biggest wheat producer – is expected to hit 22 million tonnes in 2021-2022 marketing year, a 17% increase compared to the previous record set in 2017-2018, as wet weather pushes yields higher.

“As harvest has moved south and grain yields continued to exceed estimates, the focus has shifted from ‘if we would hit 20 million tonnes’ to ‘how are we going to deal with so much grain’,” the GIWA report said.

The wheat crop itself is expected to reach 11.85 million tonnes, up 6% compared to the November report and 29% up compared to last year’s figure.

The production of rapeseeds is forecast to rise to 3.1 million tonnes, which is a 94% increase compared to last year and 15% higher than GIWA estimated in its previous report.

Barley output is projected to increase by 6% compared to the last report, jumping to 5.6 million tonnes, which is also a 24% up year-on-year.

“Grain quality downgrades from weather have been isolated to those areas that received several rainfall events at the start of harvest and is not significant in the overall scheme of things. Low protein from lack of nitrogen has mostly been confined to wet areas where growers were not able to top up during the winter,” the report also said.

New crop

As the harvest is already nearing the finishing point, the focus has started to switch to the next crop, where a drop in planted area is expected – unless substantial summer rain appears – and an early break.

Also, higher input costs could push growers to pull back on area to concentrate on the better paddocks where less fertilizers are needed, which could in turn result in a higher pasture area in 2022.

That is likely to challenge production of rapeseeds, also known as canola.

“Canola area in 2022 will be influenced by price, seed supply, timing of the break and subsoil moisture as well as the percentage already in the rotation. With all these variables in play, canola area for 2022 is a big question mark,” the report said.

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