As per the latest update from United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Australian Barley production in 2018/19 is forecast at 9.5 MMT, due to increased demand and an expanded harvest area. Relatively high prices and stronger Chinese demand are expected to encourage increased plantings and production for 2018/19. In 2017/18, barley production across Australia fell to 8.9 MMT, down 34 percent from the 2016/17 harvest of 13.5 MMT, due to less favorable seasonal conditions. Barley is usually sown in May and harvested during November. The crop grows through Australia's winter months, typically in rotation with wheat, canola, oats, and pulses. Western Australia is the major barley producing state with over one third of the harvested area and output. NSW, South Australia, and Victoria each account for around one fifth of barley production. One third of barley is generally used in Australia for food and beer production, animal feed, and seed cultivation. The remainder is exported with around 50 percent used as feed barley, one third as malting barley, and the rest for the manufacture of beer or spirits.
USDA forecasts domestic consumption of barley to increase to 3.5 MMT in 2018/19, due to high prices for feed barley in eastern Australia. Barley in Australia is used to produce distilled spirits and in traditional and craft beer production. Barley is also used as feed grain for domestic and overseas livestock industries. Demand for malt barley is increasing and is used primarily to produce alcohol (beer and distilled spirits such as Shochu, a Japanese distilled spirit) and food including confectionary, snack foods, breakfast cereals, miso, and tea.
Barley exports are forecast at 6.5 MMT in 2018/19, slightly above official estimates, due to a shortage of feed grain and hay in eastern Australia. China is the leading destination for Australian barley exports, followed by Japan and Saudi Arabia. Australian barley exports from 2011 to early 2018.
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