SYDNEY Dec 6 Australia on Tuesday raised its
forecast for wheat production during the 2016/17 season by more
than 16 percent as near ideal conditions across much of the
world's No. 4 exporter push output to record levels and add to
ample global supplies.
Wheat output in the 2016/17 season will total 32.64 million
tonnes, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource
Economics and Sciences (ABARES) said, up from a forecast in
September for 28.08 million tonnes.
With harvesting underway, 2016/17 is shaping up as
Australia's biggest wheat crop ever, surpassing the record set
in 2011/12 at 29.6 million tonnes.
A large Australian wheat crop - in a global market already
flush with supplies following bumper output in the Northern
Hemisphere - could further drag on global benchmark prices for
the grain and ensure cheap food supplies for Asian buyers.
U.S. wheat prices continue to linger near a 10-year
low touched the end of August as global supplies this season are
set to hit record levels.
Heavy rains across Australia's east coast in recent months
will drive much of the record national production, ABARES said.
Australia's east coast had three-years of below average
output following sustained dry weather, with the strongest El
Nino in nearly 20 years fuelling dry weather in the region and
crimping production last season.
The region has seen nearly twice the average rainfall
between June 1 and November 30, according to official weather
data. New South Wales state will become the largest producer of
wheat, ABARES said, with output totalling 10.5 million tonnes.
The all-time high crop comes despite frost limiting
production from Western Australia - typically the country's
largest producing region. ABARES said Western Australian wheat
production will total 9.5 million tonnes.
Higher east coast production is a boost for GrainCorp Ltd
, the region's bulk grain handler, which derives income
from storing and trading grain.
Meanwhile, ABARES said production of canola will total 3.58
million tonnes, down from its September estimate of 3.63 million
tonnes as the heavy east coast rains damaged the earlier
maturing canola crop.
(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Richard Pullin and