Rain Revives Australia's Parched Lands, Boosts Wheat Harvest

Recent rains in Western and South Australia are expected to significantly boost the country’s wheat harvest, potentially adding up to a million tons. This increase in production could stabilize global supply after crop losses in Russia. The rains are also beneficial for canola and barley crops.

Reuters | Updated: 31-05-2024 12:04 IST | Created: 31-05-2024 12:04 IST
Rain Revives Australia's Parched Lands, Boosts Wheat Harvest
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Rain in parched areas of Western and South Australia and more expected in coming days could add as much as a million tons to the country's wheat harvest, analysts said this week.

The larger wheat production would help boost global supply after crop losses in Russia pushed Chicago futures prices to 10-month highs. Australia is a major exporter of wheat, barley and canola, and all three crops would benefit from the rains. While Australia's eastern regions have had plenty of moisture, in the west and south many farmers have been planting seeds into dry earth and hoping for showers.

"Without the rain, we were heading for a reduction for wheat of half a million tons or more in Western Australia," said Ole Houe, head of advisory services at IKON Commodities in Sydney. "With the rain, we might even add half a million," he said. "Our forecast is still more than 30 million tons and that number is probably growing now rather than shrinking."

Rain in Western Australia would also stabilise the canola crop since the state accounts for nearly half the country's canola production. Farmers will also be encouraged to sow more seeds, which could result in Australia's planted area being up to 5% larger than if no rain had come, said Andrew Whitelaw at agricultural consultants Episode 3 in Canberra.

Precipitation this week and next should add between 500,000 and a million tons to the national wheat harvest, Whitelaw said, though he added that some eastern areas were now at risk of becoming too wet. Much of Western Australia's crop belt and almost all of South Australia's received rain this week, and more widespread rain should fall in the coming eight days, particularly in the west and the east, Australia's weather bureau said.

In a long-range forecast this week, the bureau said June would likely see below-median rainfall in most crop areas but July-through-September should be wetter than average, boosting hopes for the harvest. Australia's agriculture ministry is due to issue a quarterly crop report with its expectations for production on Tuesday.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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