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Australian wheat crop expected lower

MILAN, Italy - Australia's 2015 to '16 wheat crop will be lower than previously expected at about 24 million metric tons, Jammie Penm, chief commodity analyst for the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, said on ...

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MILAN, Italy - Australia's 2015 to '16 wheat crop will be lower than previously expected at about 24 million metric tons, Jammie Penm, chief commodity analyst for the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, said on Monday.

Forecasts for the upcoming wheat crop in Australia, one of the world's biggest exporters of the cereal, have been falling as dryness linked to an El Nino weather pattern and above-normal temperatures hurt the crop in its crucial phase of development.

At the start of September, ABARES forecast the crop would be 25.28 million tonnes, but a sharp downgrade to rain forecasts since the end of last month prompted ABARES to revise its outlook, Penm said.

"In late September through to early to mid-October, rainfall was very below average in major cropping regions," he told a meeting of the Agricultural Market Information System's (AMIS) Global Food Market Information Group.

"Our bureau of meteorology produced just a week ago an urgent revised outlook indicating, for the month of October, for cropping regions to receive adequate rainfall, the probability is about 20 percent."

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The reduced official outlook from ABARES, part of Australia's agriculture ministry, is broadly in line with a Reuters poll issued on Oct. 9. which showed a median estimate of 11 analysts, traders and brokers at 24.3 million.

ABARES revised forecast would also be close to Australia's 2014/15 wheat production of 23.7 million tonnes.

However, there has been some debate over Australian harvest prospects after the U.S. Department of Agriculture raised its Australian wheat forecast by 1 million tonnes 27 million in an Oct. 9 report, arguing sufficient sub-soil moisture helped crops to withstand a dry September.

But Penm said information from weather forecasters and grain industry operators had pointed to a shift in conditions.

"The situation changed quite dramatically and we need to revise our production forecast."

The AMIS initiative was established in 2011 by G20 agriculture ministers to enhance food market transparency and encourage coordination of policy action, after a period of intense volatility in food markets.

Related Topics: WHEAT
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