Australia's 2017/18 wheat output forecast to fall further to 20.3 mln T

SINGAPORE, Dec 4 (Reuters) - Australia's 2017/18 wheat production is expected to decline further, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) said on Tuesday, after recent storms damaged the crop and following a severe drought earlier in the season that reduced yields.

The world's fourth-largest wheat exporter is forecast to produce 20.3 million tonnes of wheat this year, the agency said, down more than 6 percent from its September forecast of 21.64 million tonnes and 42 percent below last year's record crop of more than 35 million tonnes.

"Favourable seasonal conditions during spring have boosted crop prospects in Western Australia but unfavourable conditions across New South Wales have adversely affected yield prospects," ABARES Executive Director, Steve Hatfield-Dodds, said in statement.

"Yield prospects have also substantially declined in Queensland over spring."

Australian farmers have had a tough wheat growing season.

Australia's past winter, which runs from June to September, was the warmest since records began more than a century ago. It was also among the nation's 10 driest seasons ever.

Heavy rains during the harvest period are also causing further concerns.

"While harvest is underway in most regions, progress has been slowed by rainfall throughout November, with December also forecast to bring more inclement weather than average for this time of year," he said.

For canola, production was forecast at 2.9 million tonnes, up 5.5 percent from the September forecast but 31 percent lower than last year's output. (Reporting by Naveen Thukral; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)