Although the season started with a relatively strong spring, numbers started to fall behind year-ago figures around July as production fell swiftly from the peak. Production then stayed behind for the rest of the season, as rapidly rising input costs hit farmer margins and restrained yields.
Production did pick up through March 2022, with the usual seasonal upturn as the spring flush began. However, it continued to run below year-ago levels, with deliveries totalling 1,072m litres in March, down 3.1% on March 2021.
For the new season (2022/23), we have forecasted deliveries to reach 12.25bn litres, which would be another 0.9% down on 21/22. However, with cost pressures looking set to continue, it is possible that production could be even lower than this, depending on how prices and availability of key inputs evolve through the season.