THIS season's canola harvest is expected to fall just short of setting another record.
In its December crop report, the Australian Oilseeds Federation has increased its estimate of this season's crop by 16 per cent to 3.133 million tonnes.
The AOF last month tipped a crop of 2.697 million tonnes.
"Once harvest had commenced, it soon became apparent that yields were better than expected in NSW, while in Western Australia, better yields and increased canola hectares served to boost the overall tonnage,'' the federation said.
This season's crop is expected to end up just 52,000 tonnes short of last year's record 3.185 million tonne crop.
The AOF increased its estimate of the canola area in WA by 10.4 per cent to one million hectares, making it the largest area ever sown to the oilseed.
WA production was increased by 295,000 tonnes, or 32 per cent, to 1.2 million tonnes.
"The harvest in WA is all but complete, so production numbers are close to final, with only another 50,000-60,000 tonnes yet to be delivered,'' the federation said.
The AOF increased its estimate of the area sown in NSW by 53,000ha to 670,000ha.
With a yield increase forecasted, state production should end up 127,000 tonnes higher at 960,000 tonnes.
The federation said better-than-expected conditions in the central west of NSW produced crops of up to three tonnes/ha and oil levels reported as high as 50 per cent.
"Management of stored moisture was the key to success this season, and growers that managed this well have benefited,'' it said.
The Victorian harvest, while yet to be completed, is expected to produce a slightly bigger crop of 560,000 tonnes.South Australian production remained unchanged at 413,000 tonnes.
The AOF said Victoria suffered low growing season rainfall but cooler spring conditions were favourable for good production.
"The Mallee experienced very large canola plantings this year, although not all was carried through to harvest due to the dry conditions," it said.
"The Wimmera experienced a dry season, but sub soil moisture is expected to see the crop come through with average yields around 1.2t/ha.
"The central and north-east districts fared well this season, and can be expected to yield around 1.7t/ha.
"The western districts, where harvest is still under way, is expected to yield slightly below average at around 1.6t/ha due to the very dry spring."
Nhill district grower Rob Bell said his family canola yields were only 1.5 tonnes/ha but they were compensated by oil contents as high as 46-47 per cent.