SUMMARY OF FINDINGS CROPS
Production increased for many broadacre crops in 2008-09, in particular wheat, barley and canola, as a result of improved seasonal conditions in some areas.
CROPS FOR GRAIN
The area sown to wheat for grain in 2008-09 increased by 8% to 13.5 million hectares while production recovered from the lows of recent years, rising by 58% to 21.4 million tonnes from 2007-08. Production increased in all the major growing states, except Victoria (down 12%) where production was affected by dry seasonal conditions. Production in New South Wales was more than double that of the previous drought-affected year, up to 7.0 million tonnes.
There was a 2% increase in the area sown to barley for grain, up to 5.0 million hectares in 2008-09. Production of 8.0 million tonnes was 12% higher than 2007-08. With improved seasonal conditions, most regions had increased production from 2007-08, with New South Wales recording the largest increase (up 78%), while production in Victoria decreased by 18%.
The area sown to oats fell 30% in 2008-09, down to the lowest level since 2002. As a result, production decreased by 23% to 1.2 million tonnes. All states recorded decreased production, except New South Wales which increased by 35% to 261 thousand tonnes.
There was a 19% decrease in the area sown to sorghum for grain in 2008-09, with 767 thousand hectares sown. Production decreased by 29% to 2.7 million tonnes, with most states/territories recording falls from the previous year.
In 2008-09, the area sown to lupins continued a decade of decline, down to 577 thousand hectares. However, production rose by 7% from 2007-08, totalling 708 thousand tonnes as a result of increases in Western Australia, which was the main producing state with 600 thousand tonnes.
In 2008-09 the area sown to rice more than trebled to 7 thousand hectares compared with the previous year due to increased availability of water for irrigation. Production similarly increased to 61 thousand tonnes. However, these figures are still markedly below the levels recorded ten years ago.
The area of canola planted in 2008-09 increased by 33% to 1.7 million hectares. Increased plantings were recorded in three of the four main growing states, with only New South Wales showing a small decrease, down to 300 thousand hectares. However, increased production in all the main producing states, including a 56% increase in Western Australia, saw overall production up by 52% to 1.8 million tonnes in 2008-09.
In 2008-09 the total area sown to cotton more than doubled to 159 thousand hectares following increased availability of water for irrigation. Production of cotton lint increased from the low levels of recent years to 309 thousand tonnes.
While the area sown to sugar cane in 2008-09 increased by 3% to 391 thousand hectares, production fell by 4% to 31.5 million tonnes due to falls in New South Wales and ceasing of production in Western Australia. Queensland, the main growing state, increased plantings by 6% to 376 thousand hectares.