AUSTRALIA exported 482,840 tonnes of feed barley, 52,682t of malting barley and 266,101t of sorghum in June, according to the latest export data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
The feed barley figure is down 18 per cent from the May total of 585,968t, while the malting figure is down 27pc from 72,203t shipped in May.
The June sorghum figure is down very slightly from the 267,595t exported in May.
With 266,132t shipped in June, Saudi Arabia once again was the biggest market for feed barley, followed by Japan on 135,959t and Vietnam on 65,790t.
In malting, Japan on 22,637t, South Korea on 20,417t and Singapore on 4264t were the three biggest buyers.
China continues its run as the biggest customer by far for Australian sorghum, and was the destination for 188,993t of the June-shipped grain, followed by Japan on 69,500t and Taiwan on 5586t.
Flexi Grain pool manager Sam Roache said feed barley exports came in at their lowest level since October.
“Dwindling supplies in South Australia and Victoria are putting the brakes on Australian volumes, along with EU and Black Sea new-crop sales taking some of our market share into the Middle East,” Mr Roache said.
“As is often the case around Black Sea harvest, we are pressured with increased flows and lower prices as farmers sell their earliest cash crop.”
Mr Roache said feed barley shipments through the closing months of the shipping year which ends September 30 are likely to continue at the June level to take 2021-22 exports to 7-7.5 million tonnes to make it one of Australia’s three biggest barley-shipping years on record.
“With virtually no barley flowing out of Ukraine, and corn weather issues flaring in the US and Europe, we expect demand to strengthen coming into the new-crop Aussie period.
“Combined with our very good crop prospects, we expect to see a solid export program in October and November, with a huge push in Nov-Dec, when the new crop comes off.”
In malting barley, bulk shipments to Central and South America and Vietnam were notable in their absence.
“The dynamic is similar to feed barley; we are running low on exportable malting stocks in Vic and SA and we face more competition from European new crop today.”
After Canada’s drought-hit season last year, Mr Roache said the resumption of its export program will indirectly take some malting market share from Australia.
“It is plausible that normal harvest quality malt premiums can drop a bit into new crop and stay subdued, with competing Canadian supplies being the big difference year on year.”
The United States Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service Barley Trade Quarterly released overnight said Saudi Arabia has imported 3.87Mt of feed barley from July 2021 to May 2022, a 44pc decline on the corresponding 2020-21 figure of 6.88Mt.
Quoting Trade Data Monitor figures, the report says Saudi imported 2.55Mt, or 65.9pc of its Jly-May tonnage, from Australia, with 14.9pc coming from the EU, and 9.6pc each from Russia and Ukraine.
In 2020-21 (Jly-May), Australia supplied 37.4pc of Saudi’s barley, with Russia on 39.1pc , the EU on 18.6pc, and Ukraine on 4.9pc.
The drop is attributed to the high price of barley, which has seen Saudi livestock farmers use more processed feed, with corn and soybeans as the main ingredients.
The report said yellow corn is currently priced at US$290/t cost and freight, compared with Australian barley at $320/t.
Table 1: Australian malting barley exports from October 2021 to June 2022. Source: ABS
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Table 2: Australian feed barley exports from October 2021 to June 2022. Source: ABS
Table 3: Australian sorghum exports from October 2021 to June 2022. Source: ABS
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