Australia blames El Niño for output slump

03 September 1997

Australia blames El Niño for output slump

AUSTRALIAS Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics (ABARE) said poor
rainfall in much of eastern Australia would lead to below-average crop yields.

It laid the blame at the feet of the El Niño weather system.

Crop yields are forecast to fall nearly 12% in the year to June 30 1998 from
last years A$15.4 billion (US$11.26bn/£7bn).

Total production of winter crops is expected to decline 28% to 24.7m tonnes,
compared with last years 34.5mt record.

Wheat production in 1997-98 is expected to reach 16.2mt – more than 30%
below last years record.

ABARE predicted a slight fall in world wheat consumption as makers of
livestock feeds increasingly switched to lower-priced corn, coupled with the
European Unions re-imposition of export taxes on wheat in late April.

It reported a record 2.5mt of cotton lint produced this summer, and a 48% rise
in rice production.

  • Financial Times 03/09/97 page 39

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