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Australian drought causes smallest grain harvest in a decadeAustralian drought causes smallest grain

Published on 27 October, 2006, Last updated at 11:07 GMT


Australian wheat farmers suffering under the worst drought in a century were preparing to reap their smallest harvest since the mid-1990s, a commodities forecaster said Friday.

Only 10.5 million tons will be harvested in the financial year that began July 1, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics said, compared with 28 million tons grown in the previous year. If the figures hold, it will be the smallest crop since 1994-95.

Similar declines were expected for barley and canola - a drop that was also expected to send the price of beef cattle down as more animals are sent to slaughter due to lack of feed.

The declining harvests are expected to slash $4.7 billion, or 35 per cent, from income from the three key grains in the previous year.


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