Australia ships 432,139t barley, 297,601t sorghum in October

Liz Wells, December 6, 2021

A 66,000t cargo of barley bound for Saudi Arabia loads at Viterra’s Outer Harbor terminal to mark the changeover to new-crop shipments from South Australia. Photo: Viterra

AUSTRALIA exported 82,851 tonnes of malting barley, 349,288t of feed barley and 297,601t of sorghum in October, according to the latest export data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The malting figure surprised by jumping 153 per cent from the 32,729t shipped in September, while the feed barley number is down 32pc from the September total of 512,617t.

Flexi Grain pool manager Sam Roache said Thailand was again notable in its absence from the list of feed barley customers, likely a function of its own corn harvest hitting the bins in August-September.

“We should see some improvement into Q4 2021 and Q1 2022,” Mr Roache said.

“Thai demand for barley does carry some new risk going forward, with the continuing competitiveness of feed wheat eating into the attractiveness of barley in that country; the same can be said for The Philippines and Vietnam.”

However, a strong export program on Australian feed barley showed no sign of letting up in October.

“Japan and Saudi Arabia continuing to dominate the space as we have seen all year, and Oman, Vietnam and The Philippines continue to contribute to demand.”

Mr Roache said November shipments could see a reduction in volume, the result of rain and cool weather causing delays with harvest and some hold-ups with execution.

“Hopefully we will recover the program to full capacity in December, as we have a big program to push out prior to the harvest of Black Sea new-crop.

“Saudi and Japan should remain the mainstay of Australian demand and be joined by Jordan as a major, which has purchased considerable volumes ex Australian traders for November forward.”

Mr Roache said a robust demand profile was expected, with Australian barley considerably cheaper both locally and in export markets versus Black Sea and European sellers for Q1 and Q2 2022.

“The fact remains that Australia cannot move its crop out quickly enough to service the demand we price, and we expect to carry considerable stocks into Q3 and Q4 2022, which will compete with Black Sea new-crop.”

He said this has recently traded at evens to Australian values into the Middle East for late June shipment.

“It’s the return of competition to our markets.”

In a statement released yesterday, Viterra said its first two cargoes of new-crop barley have sailed from South Australia this week, 66,000t from the Outer Harbor terminal, and 67,000t ex Port Lincoln.

Both are bound for Saudi Arabia.

Ethiopia a welcome newcomer

The rise in October shipments of malting barley was due to bulk sales to Ethiopia.

“As per our records, Ethiopia has never taken any significant volume of Australian barley before, so this is a great example of Australian competitiveness in the global market.

“The usual demand was quiet, as you would expect into the finish of the season and run down of stocks.

“We expect new-crop shipments to start strongly to Asian and South American customers, with a good sales program already on the books.”

Sorghum shipments surge

Sorghum exports continue to exceed expectations, with the October shipment figure up 28pc from September.

“China’s demand is sucking up almost everything available, and Japan has added some minor diversity to the program.

Mr Roache said the continuing large export numbers imply a larger sorghum crop was harvested in 2020-21 than the market expected.

“But we do expect a sharp slowdown as the Queensland-New South Wales program transitions heavily to wheat exports, especially considering the excellent quality wheat available in Queensland and pre-rain northern NSW.”

Mr Roache said a large sorghum crop could be the silver lining to the current wet weather woes in NSW and Queensland.

Much of the southern Queensland and northern NSW sorghum crop has already been planted, and the Central Queensland crop will follow suit after Christmas.

“The sorghum plant will be looking very strong, with excellent moisture available in most areas, and prices to match.

Mr Roache said a large 2022-23 sorghum crop could be the silver lining to the current wet weather woes in NSW and Queensland.

MALTING Aug Sep Oct Tonnes
Ecuador 7000 13000 0 20000
Ethiopia 0 0 73881 73881
Indonesia 0 258 510 768
Japan 0 1501 750 2251
Mexico 33740 0 0 33740
Peru 23000 13000 0 36000
Philippines 0 0 187 187
Singapore 1759 1793 3880 7432
Thailand 1977 1112 2893 5982
Vietnam 911 2066 750 3727
TOTAL 68388 32729 82851 183968

Table 1: Australian malting barley exports in August, September and October 2021. Source: ABS

FEED Aug Sep Oct Tonnes
Hong Kong 0 0 12 12
India 0 473 0 473
Indonesia 402 0 0 402
Iran 66000 0 0 66000
Japan 167113 38310 137595 343018
Kuwait 0 90676 0 90676
Macau 0 0 1 1
Malaysia 0 0 529 529
Mexico 30750 30000 0 60750
New Caledonia 360 699 528 1587
New Zealand 14777 5843 0 20620
Oman 26913 36920 10000 73833
Papua New Guinea 25 25 100 150
Philippines 29688 7687 13765 51141
Qatar 19253 55125 50000 124378
Saudi Arabia 142117 131557 113311 386985
Singapore 659 367 549 1575
South Korea 883 888 300 2071
Taiwan 1607 2271 2316 6194
Thailand 2240  0 0 2240
UAE  0 57571 6279 63849
Vietnam 82641 54206 14003 150850
TOTAL 585427 512617 349288 1447332

Table 2: Australian feed barley exports in August, September and October 2021. Source: ABS

SORGHUM Aug Sep Oct Tonnes
China 126075 159316 247405 532796
Japan 97 42186 44106 86389
Kenya 0 22000 0 22000
Philippines 3655 2950 2062 8667
Saudi Arabia 0 46 0 46
South Korea 0 0 24 24
Taiwan 2299 5125 4004 11428
TOTAL 132126 231623 297601 661350

Table 3: Australian sorghum exports in August, September and October 2021. Source: ABS


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