Market Morsel: Are Australian wheat farmers the toughest?

Grain | 4th June 2024 | By Andrew Whitelaw

Market Morsel

Australia has a volatile climate and in reality, doesn’t have the most fertility of some of our competitors in the northern hemisphere.

Australian farmers have to contend with a climate that seems, at times, to be out to get us. We obviously have drought but also floods, hail, and frost to battle.

The first chart below shows the wheat yields for Australia from 2000 to the present. We can see that it can be quite variable but essentially sits around 2mt ha. There have been some exceptional years recently; hopefully, we will get more of them.

How do we compare with other countries?

I have calculated the coefficient of variation for wheat yields for each of the world’s major wheat exporters.

The coefficient of variation (CV) is used to show the variability of a dataset. A higher CV indicates more variability and inconsistency to the mean.

Australia has the highest variability, followed by Ukraine. The USA and Europe have a very low CV, meaning that they have little variability in their wheat yields.

So, statistically, when you are talking to a grain farming friend overseas, you can safely say that you are one of the toughest wheat farmers in the world due to the tough conditions. (And we get very few subsidies to farm)