Dryness cuts prospects for New South Wales wheat

images Australia’s top producing state last season may face a slump of one-third in its wheat harvest this year after dry and cold weather held back early development, leaving crops backward and "thin".

New South Wales had been expected to suffer a significant drop-off in its wheat harvest from 2010-11, when near-ideal conditions took yields to a record and production to 10.6m tonnes, according to official data – more than produced by the whole of Kazakhstan.

But Commonwealth Bank of Australia said it was mulling a deeper cut in its harvest forecast to the state, from 8.23m tonnes to about 7m tonnes, after a crop tour revealed damage from below-average rainfall and cool weather.

"Crop development is slow. It is running about two-to-three weeks late," Luke Mathews, at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, told

"The crops are thin, and yield potential will soon start to fall, if it hasn’t already."


However, it was still "early days" for the crop, Mr Mathews said, adding that it could still achieve "average or above-average" levels if weather improved.

"But that would depend on a kind spring," he said.

Furthermore, a "large amount" of the deteriorating outlook for the New South Wales harvest was being offset by rain-improved prospects for the harvest in Western Australia, which lost its status as the country’s top wheat-producing in 2010-11 thanks to drought.

New South Wales produces, on average, a 5.6m-tonne wheat harvest, according to official data, although wheat sowings for 2011-12 are believed to have risen some 200,000 hectares above the mean.–3389.html

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