Australia's winter crops remain somewhat above official expectations amid a more
positive weather outlook
are exceeding expectations in several of the key wheat states," stated Gail
Martell of Martell Crop Projections.
of Meteorology recently lowered the chance of an El Niño event in the second
half of 2014 to 50% from 70% previously.
El Niño events trigger
above average temperatures and low rainfall.
current observations and the climate model outlooks, the Bureau's ENSO Tracker
has shifted to El Niño WATCH status," the Bureau reported at the end of
July. "This means the chance of El Niño
developing in 2014 is approximately 50%, which remains significant at double
the normal likelihood of an event.
The Bureau still
cautioned "the establishment of El Niño before year's end cannot be ruled out,"
but suggested if an El Niño "were to occur, it is increasingly unlikely to be a
Rainfall improves expectations
expectations for the current winter wheat crop remain somewhat negative though.
grains production remains subject to seasonal uncertainties with an El Niño
event and below average rainfall forecast for eastern Australia," noted the US
Department of Agriculture's Australia bureau.
project wheat production to fall by 9% to 24.5m tonnes, despite an increase in
the area harvested.
is forecast by Abares, the research arm of the Australian Government Department
of Agriculture, which forecasts wheat production of 24.6m tonnes.
By contrast the National
Australia Bank forecast a "fall of only 1.0m tonnes in Australian wheat
production this year, from the 27.0m tonnes recorded for 2013-14".
"After a long
and hot summer, decent autumn rainfall across many wheat growing regions has
improved growers' yield expectations," Khan Horne, General Manager of NAB
Not all positive
While the key
wheat growing state of Western Australia has seen a more favourable outlook not
all states enjoy the same optimism.
"The outlook in
northern New South Wales and Queensland is slightly less optimistic, with low
subsoil moisture and heavy frosts in the Darling Downs placing pressure on
crops and decent rain is needed in," noted NAB's Horne.
"Wheat yield in
El Niño years is generally significantly lower than in non-El Niño years and
yields mostly track below the national average during these periods," Phin
Ziebell, NAB Agribusiness Economist said recently.
forecasts suggest that rainfall in southern New South Wales may be below
average from August to October," Ziebell noted.
is that a very favourable Australia wheat harvest may be ruled out, due to
drought concerns in New South Wales," suggest Gail Martell.
"Assess" Russia impact
Government said it was "working to assess the full impact" of Russia's food
Government is disappointed by the Russian Government's decision to ban imports
of agricultural products, raw materials and foodstuffs from countries that have
imposed sanctions in relation to Russia in response to events in Ukraine," a statement from the ministers' of trade and
impact of Russia's ban into perspective the statement stated, "Australian
agricultural exports to Russia in 2013 were valued at about A$405m but included
some commodities now already banned".
The statement indicates Australia's trade with Russia represents "one
per cent" of agricultural exports.