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Winter crop forecast.

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Home | Media Releases DAFF05/171WT - 7 June 2005

Winter crop forecast

Australian Government Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Warren Truss said a quarterly crop report released today by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE) confirmed the bleak outlook for the winter cropping season.

"ABARE's June issue of the Australian Crop Report is forecasting total winter crop production to be 17% less than last season at 26 million tonnes," Mr Truss said.

"The forecast 55% reduction in the New South Wales crop to four million tonnes would be disastrous for the state's economy.

"But even this grim forecast could turn out to be optimistic without rain almost immediately and at regular intervals throughout the balance of the season.

"The only bright spot in the winter cropping outlook is Western Australia, where the crop is forecast to be 16% bigger than last year at 13 million tonnes - more than half of the entire nation's forecast crop - on the back of an excellent start to the season. Good yields in WA will be necessary to allow us to maintain our presence in core export markets.

"Grain prices have risen substantially over recent weeks and those price rises will continue unless the season breaks. The pressure on intensive industries and lot feeders will increase with record numbers of animals currently on feed.

"ABARE says the outcome of the 2004-05 summer cropping season is expected to mirror the previous season at around 3.5 million tonnes. The only bright spot was the relatively good cotton crop, which was up 70% on last year providing an important boost for an industry that has had some difficult years."

Mr Truss said the ABARE report demonstrates yet again the severity of the eastern Australian drought and highlights some of the real impacts the dry is having on the nation's farm sector.

Further media inquiries:

Minister Truss' office: Tim Langmead - 02 6277 7520 or 0418 221 433

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