AUSTRALIA'S crops are forecast to be above average despite the recent natural disasters.Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig welcomed the release of the ABARES Australian Crop Report and said while there had been a small drop compared to last financial year results were still positive.
The forecast is for a 4.8 million tonne summer crop, which is around 14 per cent higher than the five year average, Senator Ludwig said.
Crops have withstood challenges of hot and dry seasonal conditions and the recent severe flooding and are set to improve with increased rainfall in the coming season.
While this forecast is down 13 per cent on last year's bumper crop, it still points to a very positive year overall for the farming sector.
One of the reports highlights is the forecast for rice production which is set to increase by 15 per cent and reach a record 1.1 million tonnes, Minister Ludwig said.
This reflects the plentiful availability of irrigation water.
The ABARES report also analysed the winter crop harvest and found that the dry seasonal conditions had an adverse impact on figures.
"We are fortunate that many farmers managed to complete harvesting prior to the natural disasters that affected so many regions over summer,'' Minister Ludwig said.
"I'm pleased that most farmers in Queensland and New South Wales completed harvest prior to flooding and those in the south-east managed to finish harvest before the recent bushfires.''