SUMMARY OF FINDINGS CROPS
The 2006-07 season was characterised by very dry conditions in most states with record or near-record low rainfalls recorded in many areas. 2006-07 estimates show decreases in area planted for wheat, barley, grain sorghum, lupins for grain, rice and cotton. Small increases in area were reported for oats, canola and sugar cane. Sustained drought conditions saw production for the majority of the broadacre crops fall by 50% or more.
CROPS FOR GRAIN
The total area sown to wheat for grain in 2006-07 fell by 5% to 11.8 million hectares. The largest decreases were reported in Western Australia (down 15% or 716,000 hectares) and Queensland (down 18% or 140,000 hectares).
Sustained drought conditions saw wheat production fall by 57% to 10.8 million tonnes. Wheat production fell consistently across all states, with the largest decreases reported in New South Wales (down 68% or 5.5 million tonnes) and Western Australia (down 44% or 4.0 million tonnes).
The total area sown to barley for grain in 2006-07 fell by 5% to 4.2 million hectares, driven largely by an 18% decrease (or 201,000 hectares) in New South Wales.
Production of barley fell by 55% to 4.3 million tonnes, with decreased production in all states. The largest falls were reported in South Australia (down 61% or 1.6 million tonnes), New South Wales (down 68% or 1.6 million tonnes) and Victoria (down 70% or 1.4 million tonnes).
The total area sown to oats for grain in 2006-07 rose by 8% to 1.0 million hectares, with increased plantings in South Australia (up 47% or 34,200 hectares), Western Australia (up 11% or 28,400 hectares) and Victoria (up 16% or 24,800 hectares) only partly offset by a decrease in New South Wales (down 6% or 26,300 hectares).
Production of oats for grain fell by 56% to 748,000 tonnes, with decreased production reported in all states. The largest falls were reported in New South Wales (down 82% or 518,000 tonnes), Victoria (down 59% or 194,000 tonnes) and Western Australia (down 25% or 150,000 tonnes).
The total area sown to grain sorghum in 2006-07 fell by 20% to 613,000 hectares. A slight increase in the main growing state, Queensland (up 3% or 12,800 hectares), was more than offset by a decrease in New South Wales (down 51% or 165,000 hectares).
Grain sorghum production fell by 34% to 1.3 million tonnes, with decreases reported in all states. Production in New South Wales fell by 57% or 501,000 tonnes, while in Queensland it fell by 14% or 140,000 tonnes.
Lupins for grain
The total area planted to lupins for grain in 2006-07 fell by 9% to 736,000 hectares. Western Australia remained the predominant growing state, however the 21% decrease in plantings continued the downward trend evident for most of the last 10 years. Total production of lupins fell by 63% to 470,000 tonnes, driven by a 62% drop (or 655,000 tonnes) in Western Australia.
Lack of water saw area planted to rice fall sharply in 2006-07, down 81% to 19,700 hectares. Rice production was similarly affected, down by 84% to 163,000 tonnes. New South Wales was the main growing state, reporting 99% of total area sown and total production.
Area planted to canola in 2006-07 increased by 8% to 1.1 million hectares, however this was still a relatively low level compared with most of the previous decade. Increased plantings in New South Wales (up 46% or 88,400 hectares) and South Australia (up 20% or 29,500 hectares) were partly offset by decreases in Western Australia (down 6% or 26,500 hectares) and Victoria (down 7% or 12,400 hectares).
Production of canola fell by 60% to 573,000 tonnes. Production fell across all the states with the largest falls being reported in New South Wales (down 83% or 260,000 tonnes), Victoria (down 85% or 231,000 tonnes) and Western Australia (down 37% or 225,000 tonnes).
The total area sown to cotton in 2006-07 fell by 50% to 163,000 hectares. Production of cotton lint also fell by 50% to 282,000 tonnes. The two growing states, New South Wales and Queensland both reported sharp falls in both area and production as a result of extremely low water availability at the time of planting combined with adverse seasonal conditions.
The total area of sugar cane cut for crushing in 2006-07 rose slightly to 409,000 hectares, while production fell by 2% to 36.4 million tonnes. Queensland was the main growing state with over 90% of total production.