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  • By Lynda Kiernan-Stone, Global AgInvesting Media

Australian Canola Yields Not to Fall as Predicted as El Niño Concerns Fade

It seems Australia’s canola harvest will not be as low as previously feared, as the expected El Niño drought did not materialize.

The Australian Oilseed Federation (AOF) has set its estimate for Australia’s canola crop at 3.01 million tons – a year on year decline of 430,000 tons, but above previous estimates made earlier in the year based on fears of an El Niño-caused drought.

The country’s area sown in canola this year saw a steep drop as farmers switched to pulses and other more drought-resistant crops at the time of planting in anticipation of a hard growing season. Australia’s official crop agency, Abares forecasts a decline in canola planting of 13.5% to a five-year low of 2.25 million hectares, with canola area in South Australia falling by 27% to 380,000 hectares, while the country’s area sown in pulses is up by 120% year on year.

Despite lower acreage, the industry is more upbeat regarding canola yields, after the expected below average winter rainfall across eastern Australia did not happen despite strong warnings of El Niño-affected weather patterns.

Overall, the expected smaller Australian canola crop combined with prospects for a smaller crop in Canada, the world’s top canola exporting country, and a smaller crop in the EU, the world’s top importing market, have created a support for prices which Rabobank viewed at A$525 per ton compared to A$474 per ton last year.

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