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Total national barley production in 2010-11 was 8 million tonnes, down 23% on an historical high of 10.4 million tonnes recorded in 2003-04. The area of land under cultivation for barley in 2010-11 has further decreased to 3.7 million hectares from a high of 5 million hectares in 2008-09. All states registered an increase in production with the exception of Western Australia. Due to good weather and growing conditions, eastern Australian regions, in particular New South Wales experienced a significant increase in barley production, up by 77% to 2.2 million tonnes from 2009-10.
Traditionally a high barley producing state since 2003-04, Western Australia experienced one of its driest seasons in 2010-11. This lead to a comparatively small harvest of 1.5 million tonnes, a decrease of 39% from 2009-10.
During the early settlement period barley was not a major grain produced in Australia. Due to the introduction of more adaptable varieties in the early twentieth century, production and area sown increased exponentially, especially during the post World War 2 period.