Wheatcast™: wheat yield forecasts for Australia

Using innovative analytics, CSIRO’s Wheatcast™ forecasting technology can forecast grain production at any scale from paddock to region to state to national. Each fortnight during the grain growing season, we provide select forecasts of Australia’s wheat yield, at no cost. In 2021 we added some bells and whistles with maps of soil water, water-limited yield forecasts and their uncertainty, and state specific forecasts. Wheatcast’s™ forecasting capability is an Australian first.

Daily rainfall, temperature and solar radiation data are sourced from the Bureau of Meteorology at 202 selected high quality observation stations. Soil data are sourced from the Australian Soil and Landscape Grid and matched to these weather stations. Soil water status and water-limited grain yield forecasts are calculated by the Agricultural Production Systems Simulator, APSIM®, a modular modelling framework developed to simulate biophysical process in farming systems. APSIM® contains a suite of modules that include a diverse range of crops and pastures, and soil processes including water balance and nitrogen transformations. We also use statistical analysis of past annual yields data to convert water-limited yield potential into actual yields achieved at national and state levels.

Our methodology is based on peer reviewed science. It was successfully tested in 2017 and has been going since 2018. We presented more information about the national wheat yield forecasting and a historic evaluation of forecast results from 1987 to 2016 at the Australian Agronomy Conference in Wagga Wagga, 25-29 August 2019. We invite you to read the conference paper.

See our fortnightly forecasts posted below or follow @YieldGapAus or #Wheatcast on Twitter.

What Wheatcast™ can’t do
It should be noted that:

  1. The forecasts are based on a mix of known conditions to the date of publication and the probable conditions to harvest based on the previous 30 years.
  2. Extreme events such as severe frosts, heat shocks, floods and hail storms can have significant local implications that are not included in the forecasts and may result in lower than forecast yields if they are more widespread than usual.
  3. The forecasts do not account for large scale outbreaks of pests or diseases which may also result in lower than forecast yields.

Your feedback
The Wheatcast™ team run wheat yield forecasts fortnightly during the growing season and we will post forecasts for Australia as a whole and for individual states on this page. We’d love to hear your feedback about the information and how we’re presenting it. Please complete the form here or tweet it using #Wheatcast to let us know what you think.