Aus Nov barley exports surge, sorghum dives

Liz Wells, January 17, 2023

Harvesting Commodus barley at Millewa in north-west Victoria in November. Photo: @LlamaOfDoom

AUSTRALIA exported 104,492 tonnes of malting barley, 471,347t of feed barley and 120,306t of sorghum in November, according to the latest export data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

On malting, Mexico and Vietnam held the top two spots with 30,000t and 29,743t respectively, followed by Peru on 17,153t, and the monthly total was up 24pc from the October figure of 84,655t.

November feed barley exports were almost triple the October figure of 162,034t, with Saudi Arabia on 253,606t accounting for 46pc of the total; Qatar on 65,125t and Jordan on 62,788t were the second and third biggest customers.

China on 113,370t accounted for 94pc of November’s sorghum exports, with Taiwan on 5219t and The Philippines on 1318t the second and third-biggest markets.

Flexi Grain pool manager Sam Roache said malting barley has had another strong month, with Mexican and South American demand underpinning the program.

“We expect this consistent program to continue strongly, with the better malt selection than expected prompting sales out to mid 2023 already,” Mr Roache said.

“Malt export demand is not an issue at present and margins for export are healthy.

“Canadian values remain sky high and Argentina’s crop cuts have resulted in less available malting exports, which is supporting Australian demand.”

Mr Roache said feed barley volumes recovered thanks to shipments to Saudi Arabia and other Middle East destinations returning to more normal levels.

“The lack of Saudi shipping last month was clearly not reflective of the demand situation, despite some suggesting that demand had stopped completely.

“We expect volumes to pick up into December and January, when more new-crop became available, especially in Victoria and South Australia, where carryout was tight and programs were restricted from a supply side.

“Looking forward, we see barley demand as currently lacking a bit year on year, with slowness and poor import margins into Saudi being the main driver.”

He said Australian feed barley exports were expected to slow, not stop.

“We need to see some more business to hit our targets for export and prevent significant carryout growth.

“Barley has become cheap versus feed wheat and corn into destination, which is seeing some support from business in Asia, but to underpin an export program big enough to move the crop, we need to see a change in appetite from Saudi or a pivot in China policy.”

Mr Roache said export margins for feed barley are currently lacklustre everywhere when compared with wheat and other products.

“They are even flat to negative in some cases; this is putting barley to the back of the line on export stems.

“Locally into domestic markets, barley is cheap versus low-grade wheat, which has seen significant demand switching its way.

“Also notable here is the lack of low-grade wheat available, despite the wet season we had.”

Sorghum exports more than halved in November from October.

“That reflected a declining stocks position, wet-weather challenges and switching of stems and container capacity across to winter grains.

“Demand is reported as robust and with currently improving relations, we are more assured to remain a China market.

“Margins remain good on sorghum, which will continue into the new-crop period and give good access to stems and capacity to move another large crop.”

MALTING Sep Oct Nov Tonnes
Ecuador 0 0 6150 6150
Japan 250 28750 0 29000
Mexico 0 33002 30000 63002
Peru 0 0 17153 17153
Philippines 961 1747 1497 4205
Singapore 3663 4045 4583 12291
South Africa 0 15000 15000 30000
South Korea 1400 0 0 1400
Thailand 2655 2112 865 5631
Vietnam 32482 0 29743 62225
TOTAL 41410 84655 104992 231056

Table 1: Australian malting barley exports for September, October and November 2022. Source: ABS

FEED Sep Oct Nov Tonnes
Ecuador 6000 0 0 6000
Hong Kong 12 21 33
Japan 131166 100013 30570 261749
Jordan 0 0 62788 62788
Kuwait 72613 650 42199 114812
Malaysia 200 189 0 389
New Caledonia 307 318 394 1019
New Zealand 7195 0 0 7195
Papua New Guinea 0 0 50 50
Peru 16533 0 0 16533
Philippines 50401 165 22 50587
Qatar 0 55125 65125 120250
Saudi Arabia 335543 0 253606 589149
Singapore 4 0 218 222
South Korea 0 921 12654 13575
Taiwan 832 1962 800 3593
Thailand 0 21 772 792
United Arab Emirates 39541 0 0 39541
Vietnam 2075 3320 2130 7525
TOTAL 662421 162034 471347 1295802

Table 2: Australian feed barley exports for September, October and November 2022. Source: ABS

SORGHUM Sep Oct Nov Tonnes
China 294805 252721 113370 660897
Japan 89010 42 0 89052
New Caledonia 100 0 198 298
Philippines 2274 1477 1318 5069
Taiwan 6033 4546 5219 15797
Vietnam 0 474 201 675
TOTAL 392222 259260 120306 771788

Table 3: Australian sorghum exports for September, October and November 2022. Source: ABS


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