SUMMARY OF FINDINGS CROPS
The 2007-08 season was characterised by improved growing conditions in most states. Easing of weather conditions in many areas saw production for the majority of the broadacre crops increase from the previous year's harvest. The estimates show increases in the area planted for wheat, barley, and grain sorghum, and a minor increase of lupins for grain. Plantings for cotton and rice decreased significantly from 2006-07 estimates.
CROPS FOR GRAIN
The total area sown to wheat for grain in 2007-08 increased by 7% to 12.6 million hectares. The largest increases were reported in Victoria (up 12%) and New South Wales (up 11%).
Improved weather conditions over the last growing season resulted in wheat production increasing by 25% to 13.6 million tonnes. Wheat production rose across all major growing states, with the largest increases reported in Victoria (up by 127% to 2 million tonnes) and South Australia (up by 59% to 2.3 million tonnes).
Western Australia was the largest producer of wheat grain with 5.8 million tonnes, an increase of 13% from 2006-07.
The total area sown to barley for grain in 2007-08 rose by 17% to 4.9 million hectares, driven largely by a 28% increase in Western Australia.
Favourable growing conditions saw increased barley production in all states. Production of barley rose by 68% to 7.2 million tonnes. The largest increases were reported in Victoria (up 196% to 1.8 million tonnes), South Australia (up 68% to 1.7 million tonnes), and Western Australia (up 50% to 2.7 million tonnes).
The total area sown to oats for grain in 2007-08 rose by 23% to 1.2 million hectares, with increased plantings in Western Australia (up 33%), South Australia (up 34%) and Victoria (up 20%).
Production of oats for grain doubled to 1.5 million tonnes, with increased production reported in all states. The largest increases were reported in Western Australia with a total harvest of 840 thousand tonnes (up by 90%), and Victoria with 335 thousand tonnes (up 150%).
The total area sown to grain sorghum in 2007-08 rose by 54% to 942 thousand hectares. The largest increases were in the main growing states of New South Wales (up 72%), and Queensland (up 47%).
Grain sorghum production rose by 195% to a record 3.8 million tonnes from the 2006-07 estimate, with increases reported in all major growing states. An excellent season in most growing areas contributed to increased production of sorghum. Production in Queensland rose by 181% to 2.5 million tonnes, while in New South Wales it increased by 230% to 1.3 million tonnes.
Lupins for grain
The total area planted to lupins for grain in 2007-08 increased to 752 thousand hectares, up by 2%. Western Australia remained the predominant growing state, with a 3% increase in plantings to 546 thousand hectares. Victoria also reported an increase in the area of lupins planted by 5 thousand hectares (up 12%).
In all growing states, there was an improvement in lupin yields, approaching historic yield figures. Total production of lupins increased by 41% to 662 thousand tonnes, driven by a 30% increase (to 533 thousand tonnes) in Western Australia.
Lack of water saw the area planted to rice fall sharply in 2007-08, down 90% on historical lows of 2006-07 to 2 thousand hectares. Rice production was similarly affected, down by 89% to 18 thousand tonnes. New South Wales was the only state in which rice was grown.
The area of canola planted in 2007-08 increased by 21% to 1.3 million hectares. The largest increases were reported in Western Australia (up 45%) and New South Wales (up 10%).
Production of canola returned to near historic levels, more than doubling on last years estimate and increasing to 1.2 million tonnes. Yields of 1 tonne or more per hectare were reported in Victoria, Western Australia and Tasmania. Production rose across all the main growing states, with the largest increase being reported in Western Australia (up 92% to 752 thousand tonnes).
The total area sown to cotton in 2007-08 fell by 58% to 69 thousand hectares. Production of cotton lint also fell by 58% to 119 thousand tonnes. The two growing states, New South Wales and Queensland reported sharp falls in both area and production. This was 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 2007-08 fell to 381 thousand hectares, a decline of 7% from 2006-07. Production fell by 10% nationally to 32.6 million tonnes. Queensland was the main growing state with, 29.8 million tonnes, or 91% of total production.