By Boyd Champness

AUSTRALIA is expected to record its third-largest cereal harvest ever with 33.5 million tonnes of grain delivered.

The record is put down to ideal early-season conditions in the three major grain-growing states – News South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia.

The Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics (ABARE) also expects Australia to record its second-largest wheat crop ever, with 22.75m tonnes of wheat.

AWB Ltd chairman Trevor Flugge was quoted on ABC radio recently as estimating the wheat crop to come in at 23-24m tonnes, but AWB Ltds crop forecasting team stuck to their original figure this week of 20-22m tonnes.

According to the Stock and Land newspaper, the three big wheat-producing states will all beat last seasons production, based on deliveries to the bulk handlers so far.

However, rain and frost have spasmodically damaged crops across all three states, and resulted in crops in some areas being downgraded to general-purpose or feed wheat.

Western Australia has received a total of 11.72m tonnes of grain to date, of which 8.5m tonnes is wheat; NSW has received 7.3m tonnes of grain, of which 6.5m tonnes is wheat; and Victoria has received 3.98m tonnes, of which 2.25m tonnes is wheat.