| SYDNEY, Sept 29
SYDNEY, Sept 29 Australia's east coast will
likely see wetter conditions than usual for the rest of 2016,
stoking fears of wheat production losses in the world's No. 4
exporter of the grain.
The country's east coast has a 60 percent chance of above
average rainfall from October to December, the Australian Bureau
of Meteorology said on Thursday.
That would come after recent heavy rains across the region
either destroyed crops or downgraded the quality of wheat.
"If we get rains in November or December, which is very late
in the season, that will mean downgrades of the crop to
feed-quality," said Phin Ziebell, agribusiness economist,
National Australia Bank.
"Some farmers may try and get the crop out early to avoid
those issues, but it is too wet at the moment to get into the
Australia's east coast churns out the country's high protein
wheat, meaning output losses would limit exportable supplies of
the more desirable grain.
Lower wheat production from Australia could support global
benchmark prices,, which earlier this month hit a 10-year
low due to ample global supply.
Australia's chief commodity forecast earlier this month
raised its 2016 forecast for wheat output by more than 14
percent to 28.1 million tonnes, which would be the second
highest level on record.
While the rains poses a threat to Australia's grain farmers,
the moisture will be welcomed by cattle ranchers.
Farmers in Australia - the world's No. 4 beef exporter - are
easing off on slaughtering cattle as they look to rebuild herds
from 20-year lows following three years of drought.
Above average rainfall will aid pasture growth and refill
dams, easing pressure to cull cattle that they were previously
in danger of starving following the strongest El Nino in nearly
(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Joseph Radford)