Wheat forecast down after states’ dry weather

Australia has reduced its wheat production forecast after dry weather in the biggest producing states harmed crops, curbing supplies available for export from the world’s third-biggest shipper.

Australia has reduced its wheat production forecast after dry weather in the biggest producing states harmed crops, curbing supplies available for export from the

world’s third-biggest shipper.

Farmers are expected to harvest 24.5 million tonnes in the 2014 financial

year, down slightly from the 25.4 million tonnes estimated in June. Even so, this would be up from 22.1 million tonnes a year earlier, the Australian Bureau of

Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences said.

Exports may reach 19.5 million tonnes in the 2014 year from a previous forecast of 19.6 million tonnes.

Wheat prices have fallen 17 per cent this year on expectations that increased production in Canada and Russia will boost global output to a record high.

World food prices fell for a fourth month in August to the lowest level in more than a year on lower grain prices. Corn has slumped 34 per cent this year and soybeans

4.4 per cent, according to the United Nations. A smaller-than expected Australian crop is ‘‘a major risk for theworld’’ andmay help push prices higher, according to

brokerage Macquarie Group.

‘‘Below-average rainfall since midwinter in parts of NSW, Queensland and the northern growing areas of Western Australia has adversely affected crop

development,’’ ABARES executive director Paul Morris said. ‘‘Temperatures and rainfall have generally been favourable in South Australia, Victoria and the southern

parts of Western Australia.’’

West Australian growers will collect 7.3 million tonnes in 2013-2014, compared with 8.8 million tonnes forecast in June, said the bureau. That will still put the

state ahead of last year’s top producer NSW, which will harvest 7.2 million tonnes.

CBHGroup, Western Australia’s biggest grain handler, said last week that it expected to receive about 6.5 million tonnes of wheat. The company collects and exports about 95 per cent of the state’s grain harvest.

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