Australia wheat: Production reaches a new record

March 17, 2021 - USDA estimates Australia 2020/21 wheat production at a record 33.0 million metric tons (mmt), up 3.0 mmt or 10 percent from last month and up 17.8 mmt or 117 percent from last year. Area is estimated at 13.0 million hectares (mha), unchanged from last month but up 2.8 mha or 27 percent from last year. Yield is estimated at 2.54 tons per hectare (t/ha), second only to the 2016/17 season record of 2.61 t/ha. Yield is up 10 percent from last month, and up 70 percent from last year.

The revision is largely based on the latest information from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES). Yields exceeded previous estimates as harvest progressed, particularly in the two largest producing states of Western Australia (39 percent) and New South Wales (24 percent). Crop conditions earlier in the season benefited from abundant precipitation prior to sowing and again in October during grain fill.

Overall, beneficial growing conditions favored wheat producing states except for Queensland due to below average rainfall during a large portion of growing season. The satellite-derived Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) showed strong crop vigor, especially in the wheat belt of southeastern Australia. Harvest was completed in early January.