AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Rainfall tops up winter crop expectations by 230%

<p>ABARE predicts that winter crop production could increase by 230% this year on the back of good rainfall in Australia’s major growing areas since April.</p> <p>In its latest crop report, released this morning (Tuesday, June 19), the government research agency forecasted a winter production of 37m tonnes this year, an increase of 21m tonnes from the drought-affected volumes in 2006&#4707.</p> <p>Wheat is expected to increase by 11% to 22.5m tonnes, double the production in 2006&#4707.</p> <p>Barley (up 10%) and canola (7%) are expected to reach 9m and 1.4m tonnes respectively.</p> <p>Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and southern parts of Western Australian received above-average rainfall in late April and early May, while Queensland growers were boosted by rainfall at the start of June.</p> <p>Farmers will be relying on follow-up rain to notch up the 37m tonnes expected, which would match the strong four-year period between 1998 and 2002 when yields average 35m tonnes.</p> <p>Agriculture dependant businesses, such as rural transport operators, are also set to benefit from more demand for ancillary services. </p> <p>The Australian Road Train Association warned last year that rural transport businesses were struggling to remain viable with the loss of up to 90% of their income.</p> <p>The industry has struggled to retain some of its older drivers during the drought because there was not enough work available.</p> <p>While some operators were able to move into other areas such as mining, others were left with no work because most of their income was dependant on crops that were facing plummeting yields. </p> <br />