Australian Farmers To Plant Less In 2009/10

As Australian farmers thoughts turn to the coming 2009/10 crops, lower plantings are seen across the board according to the National Australia Bank.

"The area planted to winter crops in southeastern Australia is forecast to fall considerably in 2009-10, underpinned by depleted soil moisture profiles and farmers' reluctance to increase debt levels to fund winter cropping programs, given the poor seasonal outlook," they say.

Although plantings in NWS and Queensland are expected to come in around unchanged from year ago levels, overall a 5% reduction in winter wheat acreage is anticipated, giving a final crop of around 21.2 MMT, assuming that weather conditions during the growing season are reasonably favourable, they say.

Barley area is seen down 4.4% producing a crop of around 6.5 MMT, whilst the acreage given over to rapeseed will see the sharpest decline - down 22% - producing a crop of just 1.3 MMT, they add.

The reason for the large fall in rapeseed plantings is predominately the high cost of inputs, say they bank, warning that output could fall further if drought delays the commencement of plantings.