| MELBOURNE, July 29
MELBOURNE, July 29 Australia's largest grain
producing state Western Australia is likely to beat official
forecasts for wheat output in the 2014/15 season by about 1
million tonnes, or 12 percent, wheat exporter CBH Group said on
The state's wheat crop is expected to hit 9.4 million tonnes
out of total grain production of 15.4 million tonnes, CBH
Group's manager for marketing and trading Jason Craig told
reporters on the sidelines of a grains conference.
The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics
and Sciences (ABARES) last month forecast Western Australian
wheat production at 8.4 million tonnes, down from a bumper
harvest of 10.5 million tonnes in the 2013/14 season.
An increase in Western Australian wheat production would
supplement national production, already seen under pressure from
dry weather across Australia's east coast.
The state typically accounts for more than a third of
Australia's wheat output.
Craig said his forecast was based on better-than-expected
yields, but cautioned the size of the crop could ease in the
event of drier than usual weather.
Much of Western Australia's grain belt saw less than 80
percent of typical monthly rainfall in June, the Australian
Bureau of Meteorology said, but the bureau currently sees rains
in the state at average levels over the next three months.
ABARES last month trimmed its forecast for Australian wheat
production in 2014/15 by 1 percent to 24.588 million tonnes,
although analysts said expected drier-than-average weather
across the east coast over the next three months could threaten
"In Australia, the wheat growing season is again being
characterised by two very different production outlooks across
regions. A lack of rainfall in July in northern New South Wales
and Queensland is starting to loom as an issue for crop
development," said Paul Deane, senior agricultural economist,
"In contrast, crops further south have benefited from not
only an exceptional start to the season, but rainfall in July is
still near long-term averages," he said at the Australian Grains
(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Richard Pullin)