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Australia cuts wheat crop forecast by 11.4 per cent

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Australia is normally the world’s second-biggest grain exporter after the United States.

SYDNEY (REUTERS)

The Australian government cut its forecast for the 2008/09 wheat crop by 11.4 per cent to 19.91 million tonnes on November 5, citing a lack of spring rain across south-east Australia.

The cut from a previous forecast of 22.46 million tonnes in September by Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resources Economics (ABARE) brings the forecast into line with others by private consultants.

The previous week, Australian Crop Forecasters lowered its 2008/09 harvest estimate to 19.5 million tonnes from 20 million tonnes because dry weather in the country’s south-east had destroyed some crops.

Drought last year reduced Australia’s wheat crop to 13.03 million tonnes. Australia is normally the world’s second-biggest grain exporter after the United States.

ABARE said the wheat crop in Australia’s biggest wheat exporting state, Western Australia, was expected to be 1.7 million tonnes more than last season at about 7.8 million tonnes, even though some crops had been damaged by frost.

ABARE said Australia’s barley crop has also suffered from dry weather and was now expected to be about 6.3 million tonnes, 20 per cent lower than a forecast made in September.

Canola production is forecast to be 1.3 million tonnes in 2008/09, a decline of nearly 320,000 tonnes from ABARE’s September forecast.

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