THE LATE summer rainfall through Queensland and southern NSW has come too late to resuscitate the national sorghum crop.
The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) confirmed in its Australian Crop Report, issued today, that the sorghum crop will be the smallest since 1967.
Sorghum production is flagged at 292,000 tonnes.
Small pockets of central Queensland may have benefitted from the recent rainfall in a summer cropping context, but in other areas the moisture will be stored for a winter crop.
On the Darling Downs, in Queensland, there were also reports of some who had punted on a late plant of sorghum getting washed out by heavy rain while the crop was emerging.
ABARES executive director, Peter Gooday said his organisation had downgraded summer cropping estimates from its last report in December.
"This largely reflects seasonal conditions in December that were more unfavourable than expected," Mr Gooday said.
"Rainfall in late January and in February was largely too late to plant more grain sorghum in southern Queensland and northern NSW."
He said the total summer crop was expected to dip 66 per cent year on year to 878,000 tonnes.
The cotton industry is also enduring a torrid time.
Mr Gooday said the cotton plant, down 82pc year on year, was at 61,000 hectares, the smallest since the late 1970s and production will fall 72pc to 135,000 tonnes of lint and 191,000 tonnes of seed.
Rice production is forecast to remain low at around 54,000 tonnes because of low water allocations and high water prices.