By Boyd Champness

GOOD weather has delivered record crops to Australian farmers this summer, with national production expected to reach 32 million tonnes – a two million tonne increase on 1997-98.

The Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics report shows increases in production for all states except Victoria, where low rainfall, frost and disease reduced yields. Victorias total production was 2.88m tonnes, down 300,000t on 1997-98.

In Western Australia – the nations major grain-growing state – production was up 50,000t to a record 11.75m tonnes; South Australia was up significantly to 6m tonnes and NSW recorded 8.4m tonnes.

In Queensland, rains during spring and harvest caused large-scale grain quality downgrades, although the harvest was up 680,000t to 2.44m tonnes.

Wheat remains Australias major cereal crop, rising 9% to 21.1m tonnes, 30% higher than the five-year average.

Barley is Australias second largest crop, but production fell this year by 11% to 5.4m tonnes.

Canola production continues to boom, rising 93% over last year to 1.6m tonnes. Oats recorded 1.1m tonnes and pulses were 2m tonnes.