NATIONAL forecaster the Australian Bureau of Agricultural Resources Economics and Sciences (ABARES) has made some late revisions to its final numbers for the 2014-15 winter crop.
Senior commodities analyst at ABARES Peter Collins said total national winter crop production had been increased slightly from the December figure to 38.2 million tonnes.
This was on the back of a 6 per cent increase in Western Australia and a 5pc upward revision in Victoria.
“What we found was that in Victoria, in spite of the well-publicised tough season in the Wimmera and Mallee, a lot of other areas had years better than expected, with frost damage not quite as severe as growers thought,” Mr Collins said.
In WA, he said while there were issues with hail and heavy rain at harvest it had not influenced the overall figure too much.
“It would have been a devastating event for those that copped it, but it did not have a big impact on the State as a whole.”
The 38.2mt crop is squarely in average territory, in spite of big rainfall deficits right down the east coast.
“It was a below average season from Queensland to Victoria, but there was a bigger than average crop in WA so it balanced out to an extent.”
The crop was 13pc down year on year, but Mr Collins said the 2013-14 harvest was a large one, based on near record production in WA and South Australia.
National wheat production fell 12pc to 23.6 million tonnes while
barley output dipped 18pc to 8 million tonnes and canola dropped 10pc to 3.4 million tonnes.
The wheat figure is well below the five-year average, but Mr Collins pointed out this average was made up of several good seasons.
“It would probably be quite comparable to the 10-year average, which includes a couple of those drought years.”
Mr Collins said the season could be described as reasonable.
“There were a lot of issues throughout the year, but the end result is not too far short of the average.”
The major falls in production occurred down the east coast.
Total production also looked to fall substantially in SA, down 12pc to 7.6 million tonnes, and WA, down 16pc to 14.6 million tonnes, but Mr Collins said it was important to remember these two states had come off historically high figures the season before.
“In the case of WA in particular, it is still very much an above average crop.”
Mr Collins said total canola production was down 10pc, but still clocked in at 3.4mt, well above averages up to 2010.
“We lifted forecasts slightly from December, primarily on the back of better yields than we thought in WA and Victoria.
“The areas impacted by the dry in Victoria were not necessarily the major canola producing regions, while in WA the weather damage in the south was not as significant as first feared.”