Canola production in Australia in the current marketing year is expected to reach 5.2M tonnes, a drop of 17% compared to last year’s record crop, according to the latest estimates from the Australian Oilseed Federation (AOF) reported by AgriCensus.

The reduction in production of the oilseed represented a return to more normal production levels following the record 2021/22 harvest which the AOF estimated at 6.3M tonnes.

Expectations for the 2022/23 harvest are supported by an estimated 12% year-on-year increase in canola planted area, according to the AOF.

Conditions had been mostly favourable to date in the season with timely rainfall across most planting areas in the states of New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia over the first three months of 2022, AgriCensus wrote on 17 May.

Although New South Wales and Victoria had been affected by saturated fields and winter flooding, favourable conditions were expected to persist across the east coast for the remainder of the season, the AOF said.

“Across the east coast, favourable seasonal conditions may continue into mid- to late- winter, with a weakening La Niña persisting longer than previously forecast,” the AOF said.

In contrast, South Australia remains dry, according to the association, with recent rains falling outside dedicated canola growing areas.

Crop expectations remained generally positive, the AOF said, given the mostly favourable growing conditions alongside the increase in planted area.

Amid expectations of a stronger Canadian canola harvest this year, the AOF said it was forecasting the gross value of Australian canola production for 2022/23 to reach US$3.5bn, the second-highest figure on record.