Market News & Headlines >> Australia Lowers Wheat Crop Estimate

Australia’s official crop forecaster ABARES on Tuesday cut its forecast for the country’s 2023/24 winter wheat production by 800,000 metric tons to 25.4 million metric tons due to dry weather that has hurt yield potential in the country’s northern growing regions.

Winter wheat production is now expected to be down 36% from the record large 2022/23 level of 39.7 million tons and 4% below the 10-year average. The ABARES production estimate is also 3.6 million tons below USDA’s current estimate of Australia’s crop. The fall in expected yields in northern cropping regions is likely to be partially offset by better yield potential in southern cropping regions, ABARES said.

The northern Australia rainfall onset is likely to be later than usual for 2023–24, ABARES said. Abundant rainfall supported record large harvests in each of the previous three years as the La Nina weather phenomenon influenced Australia’s climate, but with a strengthening El Nino phenomenon now in place, a hot, dry spring is expected following the country’s warmest winter on record. Severe rainfall deficiencies are starting to emerge across several Australian agricultural regions.