National Australia Bank will increase its Australian wheat harvest forecast by 1 million tonnes to 22.2 million tonnes due to recent rains in some key growing regions, it said last Monday.
Improvements in soil moisture, mainly in parts of New South Wales state, will lead to the revision, though other parts of country still remain dry, NAB agri-economist Frank Drum told Reuters.
“Our forecast is dominated by what’s occurring in northern New South Wales and Western Australia, Drum said by telephone from Melbourne.
“That’s really not that great since some other spots really haven’t had a good season,” he said.
Australia harvests wheat once a year, between October and February. The last harvest produced 21.4 million tonnes.
The new forecast puts NAB in line with the official government forecaster Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, which sees the crop at 22.13 million tonnes. Agricultural advisory firm Australian Crop Forecasters expects around 22.7 million tonnes.
For the May to July period, the chance median rainfall will be exceeded stands at between 60 per cent and 70 per cent in a region covering the northeast half of New South Wales and most of southern Queensland state, according to Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology.
Across the rest of the country, the bureau said chance of the median being exceeded over the next three months is between 40 per cent and 60 per cent, meaning that above-average rainfalls are about as equally likely as below average falls.
Drum said most forecasters remained conservative in their predictions given there was sufficient planting opportunities through to June.
Australian Crop Forecasters analyst Gavin Warburton said it will release an updated forecast early in June.
“At this point, most of the crop isn’t planted yet, and so we’re all talking about a forecast for a crop that’s not planted, Warburton said.