Wheat production in 2012-13 was estimated at 22.5 million tonnes, a fall of 25% on the previous year's record, as a result of drier seasonal conditions. While production was down in all states, it was most marked in Western Australia, the main wheat growing state, which was down by 40% (or 4.4 million tonnes) to 6.6 million tonnes. The area of wheat planted for the 2012-13 crop fell by 8% to 12.8 million hectares, with reduced plantings reported in all states.
Dry seasonal conditions saw barley production fall by 9% to 7.5 million tonnes. While all states reported lower production for 2012-13, the largest decrease was reported in Western Australia, down by 20% (or 547,000 tonnes) to 2.2 million tonnes. Western Australia experienced generally unfavourable seasonal conditions in 2012-13 with most cropping regions experiencing very much below average rainfall; this was compounded by heavy rain at harvest time also affecting production. The area of barley planted for the 2012-13 crop fell by 3% to 3.6 million hectares. All states other than Victoria and Queensland reported reduced areas sown to barley.
The preliminary estimate for the canola harvest for 2012-13 indicated record levels of production for the second consecutive year. Canola production was estimated at 4.0 million tonnes, an increase of 583,000 tonnes or 17% on the previous year. Increased production was reported in all states except Queensland, with the largest increases reported in Victoria (up 34%) and New South Wales (up 22%). Nationally, the area of canola planted increased by 30% (or 742,000 hectares) to 3.2 million hectares. The largest increases in plantings were reported in Western Australia (up 33% to 1.3 million ha), New South Wales (up 29% to 937,000 ha) and Victoria (up 32% to 628,000 ha). Much of the national increase in area came from Western Australia's increase of 318,000 hectares, partially due to replanting with canola following the failure of the wheat harvest as a result of drought.
In 2012-13, Australia produced another bumper cotton crop, although slightly down on the record production in 2011-12. Cotton lint production fell by 8% to 898,000 tonnes, but was still comparable with the two previous years of high production. The area of cotton planted for the 2012-13 harvest fell by 26% to 444,000 hectares, but growing conditions and water availability were generally favourable, resulting in above average yields.
Footnote(s): (a) Data for 2013 are preliminary and may be subject to revision.