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Timely rain helps Australia wheat crop

Australia’s 2008-09 wheat harvest, initially forecast to be near the biggest ever, has been boosted by timely rain in Western Australia, the nation’s largest wheat-exporting state.

“We expect to revise our forecast back up towards 20 million tonnes,” Gavin Warburton, an analyst at private consultancy Australian Crop Forecasts, said Nov. 3.

A week ago ACF cut its forecast for the total Australian crop to 19.5 million tonnes from 20 million tonnes because of crops being ruined by dry weather in South Australia and the state of Victoria in Australia’s southeast.

But it lifted its estimate of western production to 7.9 million tonnes from 7.8 million tonnes a week earlier and kept its estimate for the state of New South Wales, the second-largest exporting state, at 6.5 million tonnnes.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology said October was the driest on record for South Australia with maximum temperatures generally two to three degrees above average.

The 2007-08 crop was just 13.039 million tonnes, hurt for the second straight year by the most severe drought in Australia for 100 years.



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