AUSTRALIAN canola production is tipped to drop below three million tonnes next season but recover gradually over the next four years.

ABARES is predicting a steady if unspectacular outlook for growth in Australia’s major oilseed crop with production tipped to climb to 3.3 million tonnes by 2017-18.

The forecast rise would be on the back of an expected two per cent lift in annual plantings to 2.3 million hectares by 2017-18 and would also be boosted by an increased uptake in genetically modified (GM) varieties.

Just as unspectacular was the price outlook for canola with ABARES forecasting a price of $529 a tonne next season (compared with $545 this year) which would decline to $447 (in 2012-13 dollars) by 2017-18.