National grain production 'on track'

Kate PollardThe West Australian

Grain production across Australia is shaping up to be above-average, according to AWB portfolio manager Bobbie Cottrell.

Speaking to the _Countryman _ during last week's Newdegate Machinery Field Days, Mr Cottrell said production was on track to reach forecasts of 23.5 million to 25 million tonnes.

"Conditions in South Australia, broadly speaking are excellent," he said.

"Yields are setting up to reach record levels if the next few weeks are good in terms of temperature and rainfall."

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In Victoria's western districts, central and north-eastern parts, there is potential for large yields, as well as in southern New South Wales.

"The main areas of concern where production isn't as good as it could be are north western NSW, Walgett and western Queensland - it's getting very hot and dry."

Globally, Mr Cottrell said wheat production was at a record 700 million tonnes and harvest in the northern hemisphere, including the United States, Europe and Black Sea, had progressed without any major problems.

With US corn crops due to yield well and due for harvest, Mr Cottrell said there was potential for downside to cash values in Australia.

But China could be a big swing factor for price.

Mr Cottrell said the last US Department of Agriculture report showed China increased its wheat imports by three million tonnes.

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