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Australia's wheat crop remains in question

Австралийската реколта от пшеница остава под въпрос
Wheat production in Australia remains climate dependent. Against the background of a relatively dry November, significant rainfall fell at the end of the month, putting at least 100,000 tonnes of wheat in question, with another 1 million tonnes expected to be harvested for feed, Reuters reported, citing industry analysts.

The intense heat and low rainfall earlier in the year due to the El Niño weather pattern has already affected production forecasts.

The US Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) forecasts 2023-24 wheat production at 26.5 million tonnes, similar to the previous 10-year average but well below the record 2022-23 crop of 39.7 million tons. Exports from one of the world's largest suppliers, Australia, are estimated at 18.5 million tonnes, down from 32 million tonnes last marketing year.

In 24 hours, between November 28 and November 29, more than 200 millimeters of rain fell in parts of New South Wales and more than 80 millimeters in parts of Victoria, the Met Office said.

The bureau said a severe weather warning remains in effect for rain and damaging winds in parts of the southeast where harvest is in full swing. Heavy rain prevents large machines from entering the fields, and the crops left in the fields are at the mercy of the weather.

"Farmers are stranded. You can't harvest in waterlogged land," said Andrew Whitelaw of the Agricultural Advisory Service, adding that between 50,000 and 130,000 tonnes of wheat could be lost and another half a million tonnes reduced to a lower quality.

An IKON Commodities official commented that they estimate up to 100,000 tons could be destroyed and 1 million tons could drop in quality.

Australian Crop Forecasters' Rod Baker said he was more optimistic, but up to 50,000 tonnes could be lost and 500,000 tonnes downgraded to feed.

All analysts remained unanimous and warned that forecasts could change and depend on the weather in the coming days.

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