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Rain boosts Australian wheat crop
SYDNEY ,Australian Wheat Forecasters Pty Ltd (AWF) boosted its forecast of the country's current wheat crop on Tuesday by six percent, to a near-record 24.29 million tonnes.
The estimated crop size in Australia, the world's second-largest wheat exporter after the United States, has steadily been revised higher the past month because of good rains, especially in New South Wales.
The latest 2003/04 forecast is up from the private group's mid-August estimate of 22.95 million tonnes.
Last year's harvest was hampered by the worst drought in 100 years. "The scene is set for a very big crop," said AWF Managing Director Brian Bailey.
The latest forecast compares with a crop of only 9.39 million tonnes in the crop year ended March 31, according to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
AWF puts 2002/03 production at 10.03 million tonnes. The latest forecast for the new crop, to be harvested by around the end of the calendar year, nears the Australian record of 24.85 million tonnes in the 2002 crop year.
AWF caps several recent forecast upgrades because of rain.
National monopoly wheat exporter AWB Ltd on Friday boosted its forecast to 22 million to 24 million tonnes from 20 million to 22 million.
The rain had been accompanied by good growing conditions in the last month, which enabled the plants to use the late winter rain well, Bailey said.
"Couldn't do without the rain," he said. "But the timing of it if it had been a dry three weeks and the plants got stressed we wouldn't have had 10 tillers filling, it would have been three or four."
Spring rains were still needed to finish off the crop, he said. Some frosts in northern New South Wales and southern Queensland had been outweighed by the increase in yield because of rain, Bailey added.
South Australian crops had close to ideal growing conditions in June, July and August, despite strong winds, it said.
AWF boosted the state forecast by 100,000 tonnes. Western Australian conditions had been favourable all through winter, AWF said.
MGR Archive 3.9.2003
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Russia Rapan $ 700
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USA Calrose #1 $830
USA Calrose #1 Paddy $480
EU Prices Baldo €660
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