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Australia's 2019-20 wheat production estimate cut to 15.9 mil mt

New Delhi — Australia's agriculture department cut its forecast Tuesday for wheat production in 2019-20 (April-March), on the back of unfavorable weather conditions in the country's largest exporting region, Western Australia.

The wheat production is expected to fall 16.8% to 15.85 million mt, the Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences said in a report. The forecast is 8.4% lower from the amount of wheat produced in 2018-19.

"Australian winter crop production was adversely affected by seasonal conditions in early spring that were more unfavorable than expected in most cropping regions, particularly in Western Australia and southern New South Wales," the report read.

The new forecast is almost in line with that of the National Australia Bank's estimate of 15.5 million mt and Rabobank's 15.8 million mt. The US Department of Agriculture projects the 2019-20 (July-June) production at 17.2 million mt.

Western Australia was hit by below-average winter rainfall and above-average temperatures, leading to a decline in production estimate for most winter crops, including wheat.

Wheat production is forecast to fall 41% in 2019-20 to around 6 million mt, reflecting a 37% fall in the average yield. Area planted to wheat in the state is estimated to have fallen 6% to 4.4 million ha.

The estimated fall in production in Western Australia is likely to be partially offset by higher production from South Australia, Victoria, and New South Wales.

The three states are projected to produce 9.4 million mt, 40% higher than the last season as some areas in these states received better rainfall than last year.

In June, Australia imported wheat for the first time in more than a decade, as drought across the country's east coast hampered supply.

-- Shilpa Samant, shilpa.samant@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Aastha Agnihotri, aastha.agnihotri@spglobal.com