Australia races to plant wheat after heavy rains

Following weeks of steady rain, wheat farmers in one of Australia’s biggest grain belts are working around the clock to plant what they hope will be one of the best crops on record.

The frantic activity is taking place in the Narrabri-Moree area of New South Wales, the eastern state that normally accounts for 30% of Australia’s wheat crop. Seven years of severe drought preceded the soaking rain.

Elsewhere in the state and around Australia –the world’s second-biggest wheat exporter – conditions remain dry and financially strained farmers are anxiously awaiting rain.

Australia caused some concern in global food markets on Tuesday by cutting its official wheat output forecast by nearly 9%. Western Australia, which normally supplies about 40% of the country’s wheat, was best placed of the cropping states, thanks to good early rain.

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