David Littleproud with Bill Purcell out on a farm near Roma.
David Littleproud with Bill Purcell out on a farm near Roma. Molly Hancock

Crop report card shows full extent of drought impact

A DRY winter and poor start to spring has led to predicted winter crop productions fall by almost one quarter.

Crop production dropped 20 per cent below the 20 year average.

This is according to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences crop report for December.

Agriculture minister David Littleproud said the dip showed the impact the drought has had on cropping.

"This latest crop report confirms what farmers living and working through this drought expected," he said.

The total of production of winter crops is estimated to have decreased by 23 per cent to 29.3 million tonnes in 2018 to 2019.

"Many farmers also chose to cut crops planted for grain production for hay because of higher fodder prices," Mr Littleproud said.

"The story of agriculture in Australia is just add rain, I know many areas are doing it extremely tough right now, but our farmers continue to be resilient."

He said there was some encouraging news in the crop report.

"Late spring rainfall has seen an increase in summer crop planting in Queensland and northern New South Wales, but significant follow-up rain will be needed to ensure production," Mr Littleproud said.

The government is assisting farmers to manage through the drought, investing up to $7 billion over time in new funding.

Mr Littleproud introduced legislation in Parliament to create a $5 billion Future Drought Fund to build resilience and have a solid plan for the future of farming.