Hot weather curtails wheat crop

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Melbourne

(Australian Associated Press)

Australia’s wheat crop in 2015/16 is expected to be about two million tonnes lower than previously forecast because of prolonged hot weather, says agribusiness bank Rabobank.

With the Australian harvest drawing to a close, Rabobank expects the wheat crop to come in at 23.3 million tonnes.

“Farmers are reflecting on what promised to be a bumper crop, with yields downgraded across the country on the back of the hot, dry spring,” Rabobank said on Monday.

Much of Australia endured the warmest October on record.

Rabobank grains and oilseeds analyst Ben Larkin said Western Australia is expected to harvest nine million tonnes of wheat.

NSW and South Australia are expected to produce above-average results.

But Victoria has been hit hard, with much of the wheat crop in the western regions cut for hay.

The dry spell in Queensland has been partly offset by a reasonable season in areas west of Dalby.

Mr Larkin said the national barley crop is expected to be above-average, but canola is forecast to be 12 per cent lower than 2014/15 levels.

Mr Larkin said modelling suggested that the El Nino weather pattern will continue until the end of the year, before starting to dissipate in early 2016.

Rabobank said that in 2016, farmers should benefit from further weakening in the Australian dollar, which is expected to trade at 66 US cents by the end of 2016.

But with global stocks of most agricultural commodities at record or near-record levels, prices are likely to be range-bound over the coming year.

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