AUSTRALIAN PRODUCERS OF BARLEY STILL HOPEFUL

AUSTRALIAN PRODUCERS OF BARLEY STILL HOPEFUL

Despite the lack of rain in Australia's barley producing areas, industry officials remain confident the crop area in 1990-91 (April-March) will rise by 5 percent to 10 percent from last season's 2.32 million hectares.

The lack of rain will become critical by the end of April and early May when sowing begins, they said. The area is likely to rise as farmers switch to

grains after recent declines in wool prices.They also said it was too early to forecast the size of the 1990-91 barley crop. The 1989-90 harvest was 4.07 million metric tons.

Victoria Farmers Federation grain analyst Peter Cook said, "We've had no rain in Victoria. But sowing won't begin until May so farmers aren't really concerned at this stage."