AUSTRALIA (15 April)

The outlook for the minor 1996 summer coarse grain crop (mostly sorghum) which is now being harvested is favourable. Production is estimated to increase by at least 50 percent from the previous year’s reduced volume due to expanded plantings and improved yields.

Planting of the main 1996 planting of the main 1996 wheat and coarse grain crops is due to start in May. Official forecasts in late March put the wheat area at an above average 10.3 million hectares, up about 5 percent from the previous year. Growers are expected to respond to strong international prices. However, yields may slip back marginally after the above average levels in 1995, and assuming normal weather conditions, output is forecast to expand by about 4.5 percent. The area planted to the main winter coarse grain crops, mostly barley and oats, is expected to decrease slightly following the larger wheat plantings, and as a result, winter coarse grain production is projected to fall marginally.