Australian crop production down 20 percent amid devastating drought

Source: Xinhua| 2019-02-19 13:10:26|Editor: Shi Yinglun
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CANBERRA, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) -- Australia's crop production fell 20 percent in 2018 as a devastating drought wreaked havoc on the nation's agriculture industry.

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) revealed on Tuesday the winter 2018 crop production was 30.4 million tonnes, down from 38 million tonnes the previous year.

Production fell 60 percent in New South Wales (NSW) where the drought hit hardest, 51 percent in Queensland and Victoria and 24 percent in South Australia.

Those declines were mitigated by a 21 percent increase in production in Western Australia (WA), which produced 17.1 million tonnes on its own.

"They had a really good finish to the season and that's boosted production so we've had to raise our forecasts," Peter Collins, ABARES senior economist, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), describing the WA result as a surprise.

According to the report the production of all the major crops fell in 2018, wheat by 19 percent to 17.3 million tonnes, barley by seven percent to 8.3 million tonnes, and canola by 41 percent to 2.2 million tonnes.

The NSW government in August 2018 declared that 100 percent of the state was in a state of drought while approximately 60 percent of Queensland was in drought.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, the 2018 winter was New South Wales' driest since 2002 and the eighth-driest in recorded history.

"The conditions have been drier and warmer than average in the southern cropping regions of Queensland and northern NSW," Collins said.

"So all of these things combined have reduced prospects of summer crop production."