Australia set for worst winter harvest in a decade

Rural analysts are predicting the worst winter harvest in 10 years after much of Australia’s cropping country suffered with unseasonably long droughts in recent months.  

According to Rabobank’s Winter Crop Production Outlook report, North and central New South Wales will be hit the hardest, with the state facing a nearly 60% reduction in the wheat harvest, and more than an 80% reduction in pulses.

The agriculture financing specialist forecasts the overall 2018/19 national grains harvest to reach just 29.3 million tonnes, down 23% on the previous year. This follows a ‘drought to rival the millennium drought’, as well as severe overnight frosts in cropping regions.

“For vast regions of the Eastern states, there will be no harvest, and where there is a harvest, yields will be anywhere between 30 per cent and 50 per cent down on average,” said the Rabobank report.

“Late, to no, season-opening rains, below-average to lowest-on average rainfall and above-average temperatures during the growing season have been coupled with damaging frost to reduce harvest volumes and affect grain quality.”

The only improving harvest prospects are found in Western Australia, which is set to contribute more than half of the national winter crop for the first time in 20 years.