AUSTRALIA exported 777,823 tonnes of barley and 255,066t of sorghum in March, according to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Feed barley shipments for the month totaled 636,233t, down 30 percent from the 911,105t exported in February.
The three largest markets for March-shipped feed barley were Saudi Arabia on 285,171t, Vietnam on 82,358t and The Philippines on 60,036t.
March malting barley exports at 141,590t more than tripled from the February figure of 41,278t, with Vietnam on 32,615t followed by Mexico on 31,733t and Japan on 21,000t the largest markets.
Sorghum shipments surged to reflect new-crop availability, with the March total of 255,066t being almost five times the 53,117t exported in February.
China on 232,996t accounted for 91pc of March sorghum exports, with Japan on 14,360t and Taiwan on 4454t the second and third-biggest markets respectively for the month.
Flexi Grain pool manager Sam Roache said feed barley shipments continued strongly, below last month’s huge total but still in line with pace required to meet an expected shipment total of around 8 million tonnes in the year to September.
“Year on year we sit similarly with around the same amount shipped year to date at around over 4Mt,” Mr Roache said.
“Demand was softer into most homes bar Saudi Arabia, which was unchanged versus February shipments.”
On malting barley, Mr Roache said the jump in March exports shows malting demand outside China is strong and likely to continue as such in coming months.
“Australia is on track to be exhausting its malting stocks in the next few months to current export destinations.
“If you consider China demand on top of this the opportunities will likely be very positive.
“China remains key for barley and, despite some quelling of initial excitement on the subject, we remain positive.
“The information we see remains supportive of tariff reductions and opening of new business in the next few months, which will support feed and malt barley demand into the last half of the season.”
On sorghum, Mr Roache said the surge in volume in March reflects the depth of demand in China, and healthy export margins for the red grain.
“With a good crop coming in, we expect a big sorghum export program for the rest of the year.
“The wheat program is slowing due to lower stocks, and lower export margins in New South Wales will only add to export capacity and logistics being allocated to sorghum.
“That should further support the export volumes.”
Harvesting of sorghum is close to finished for the season in southern Queensland and NSW, and is about to get under way in earnest in Central Queensland.
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Table 1: Australian feed barley exports from 1 October 2022 to 31 March 2023. Source: ABS
Table 2: Australian malting barley exports from 1 October 2022 to 31 March 2023. Source: ABS
Table 3: Australian sorghum exports from 1 October 2022 to 31 March 2023. Source: ABS
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