DOMESTIC consumers have focussed their buying attention on central New South Wales, where competitive bids are helping to shift wheat and barley into mills within and beyond the border.
On the Darling Downs of southern Queensland, grain is being sourced from as far south as the Port Kembla zone, and central NSW grain is also heading south to northern Victorian consumers.
While much of Australia’s winter crop has rosy prospects, parts of Victoria and South Australia need rain to bolster their yield outlook. Pockets of northern NSW, as well as Western Australia’s Great Southern, are excessively wet.
This is supporting prices, particularly for higher-protein wheat which is already in short supply.
|Barley Downs||$295 down $10-$15||$270 steady|
|Wheat Downs||$325 steady||$298 up $8|
|Sorghum Downs||$310 steady||$260 steady|
|Barley Melbourne||$270 down $5||$255 down $5|
|Wheat Melbourne||$322 down $5||$305 down $5|
Table 1: Indicative delivered prices in Australian dollars per tonne.
Nearby north softens
Feedlotters in southern Queensland and northern NSW are busy booking lots of barley, and some wheat from central and south-central NSW, as supplies of competitively priced grain closer to home tighten.
This is helping shift the considerable stocks still in bunkers and silos in an area bordered roughly by Dubbo, Condobolin, West Wyalong and Young.
“I can buy barley through the trade for $295/tonne when it’s more like $303-$304/t from the Downs or northern NSW,” one buyer said.
Despite some cold and wet weather in the past week, cereal crops in southern Queensland are thriving, and new-crop barley should be available to feedlots by late September.
Crop conditions are good to excellent throughout most of NSW, and this has brought trade and grower sellers to the market.
“There’s no incentive for sellers to carry grain, and we’re getting a bit of coverage now for January to March.”
Feedlots and other end-users are also booking some loads of early barley for October-December delivery at $255-$260/t.
Top-grade sorghum continues to trade at an atypical premium to barley, and demand for it remains confined to poultry millers and piggeries.
Canola shines in south
While some dry patches exist in the Victorian Mallee and SA’s northern growing regions, yield prospects are mostly bright from the NSW Riverina through to southern parts of the Victorian and SA grainbelt.
Growers are, however, focussed on forward selling their canola into a red-hot market, and feeding winter crops to maximise yield potential.
In southern NSW, Godde’s Grain trader Peter Gerhardy said strength in overseas markets was helping to offset the downward pressure on prices coming from another big Australian crop.
“The current crop cash market is trying to ease back a bit; we’ve got more sellers than buyers.”
Mr Gerhardy said traders rather than growers appeared to be offering nearby wheat and barley, and grain being sold had become easier to move.
“The shipping program has slowed down a little bit, and sub-contractors are a bit more available.”
However, patches of south-eastern Australia’s grainbelt are quite wet, and this has made access to grain stored on some farms difficult.
“There are a few weather shorts out there, and growers that are forward selling are selling canola.
“We’re seeing canola prices of $760/t at local depots, and a lot of growers can expect to be getting 2.5-3t to the hectare.
“Urea is being thrown out as if there’s no tomorrow and the season’s looking good, so domestic consumers are feeling pretty comfortable about plenty of new-crop grain being around.”