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Record Canola Crop Forecast

20 May 2011

AUSTRALIA - Australia has been forecast to produce its biggest canola crop on record this harvest.

In its first canola crop report for the new season, the Australian Oilseeds Federation has forecast a 2.44 million tonne harvest, according to Weekly Times.

If the AOF prediction is realised, the canola harvest will be the largest since 1999-2000, when Australian growers produced a 2.4 million tonne crop.

Last season was the second biggest crop on record, with the AOF estimating national production of 2.12 million tonnes.

Victorian growers are expected to play a major part in the anticipated increase in production this year, with the AOF tipping the state's production to rise from 440,000 tonnes last season to 600,000 tonnes this harvest.

It will be Victoria's biggest canola crop, exceeding the 450,000 tonnes harvested in 1999-2000.

Many Western District grain growers were expected to switch away from canola plantings this season after suffering losses from waterlogging and slugs last year.

But AOF executive director Nick Goddard said these factors had been accounted for in the federation's forecast.

Mr Goddard said slugs, snails, crickets and mice were all of a concern in Victoria this season.

He said the onset of cold weather were expected to bring mice under control at sowing.

He said mice were expected to be more of a problem in the spring.

Mr Goddard said paddocks in the Western District were still too wet to sow, but the federation hoped the soil would soon dry out enough to allow growers to plant.

In NSW, canola planting was about 70 per cent complete.

The AOF was tipping NSW to produce a 630,000-tonne crop this year, slightly higher than the 610,000 tonnes harvested last season.

If the AOF forecast for NSW is realised at harvest, it will be the state's third largest crop after the 700,000 tonnes produced in 2000-01 and 670,000 tonnes in 1999-2000.

The federation said good prices, a full sub-soil moisture profile and difficulties growing chick peas last year had prompted a resurgence in canola in NSW.

"The presence of mice is the primary concern at this stage, with some areas already having to be re-sown due to mice damage," it said.

In Western Australia, the situation was not as bright, with dry weather hampering sowing.

WA traditionally produces 50-60 per cent of the national canola crop but a large part of the state is still waiting for enough rain to sow.

"In the north, around Geraldton, and on the southern coast, there has been sufficient raing to get sowing under way, but elsewhere, growers are keeping a watchful eye on the western skies and weather maps for signs of decent rain before firing up their planting gear," Mr Goddard said.

The AOF has forecast a 830,000-tonne harvest in WA, a 17.7 per cent increase on last year's harvest of 705,000 tonnes.

The federation has estimated South Australia production at 375,000 tonnes, slightly more than the 360,000 tonnes produced last harvest.

TheCropSite News Desk

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