Wheat production increased by 9% over the previous year, to 29.9 million tonnes nationally. This increase was driven by strong harvests in Western Australia (up by 121% to 11.0 million tonnes) and Queensland (up by 24% to 1.9 million tonnes) due to favourable conditions, which were only partly offset by decreased production in the other states due to heavy rain and pest problems. The area planted to wheat was up by 3% to 13.9 million hectares nationally.
The 2011-12 canola harvest was the largest on record at 3.4 million tonnes. All states, apart from Queensland and Tasmania, reported increases in production. The largest increases were reported in Western Australia (up by 72% to 1.2 million tonnes), New South Wales (up by 36% to 1.1 million tonnes) and Victoria (up by 45% to 689,000 tonnes). The increase in production was due to a large increase in area planted (up 18% to 2.5 million hectares nationally), combined with favourable weather conditions and good prices from increased demand in Europe for canola for bio-diesel.
Lupin production increased nationally by 22% to 982,000 tonnes. The increase was driven by Western Australia, where favourable weather conditions contributed to a better than average growing season. Production in Western Australia rose by 97% to 782,000 tonnes. The increase in Western Australia was partly offset by a marked decrease in production in New South Wales, down by 67% to 84,000 tonnes, due to poor market conditions and natural crop rotation. The total area planted to lupins nationally fell by 9% to 689,000 hectares, with the largest fall reported in New South Wales, consistent with the decrease in production in that state.
Area planted to sugar cane for crushing in 2011-12 increased by 10% to 339,000 hectares nationally, reversing the downward trend evident over recent years. Production, however, only rose by 3% over the previous year to 26.0 million tonnes, due mainly to flooding in the New South Wales growing area and extreme weather conditions in parts of Queensland.
The 2011-12 cotton harvest produced a record 973,000 tonnes, up by 15% over the previous year, and reflecting the excellent seasonal conditions and increased water availability experienced through the year. There was a slight increase in the total area planted to cotton, up to 596,000 hectares nationally. Both New South Wales and Queensland recorded increased production, with New South Wales up by 21% to 604,000 tonnes and Queensland up by 6% to 369,000 tonnes. Although some areas were affected by bad weather, dryland crops did quite well due to the second consecutive year of increased rainfalls improving the soil moisture content.
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