Markets

Feedgrain Focus: Dead quiet as values soften

Liz Wells, January 11, 2024

Wayne Gordon with Pioneer technical support manager Ken Haxen and portfolio manager – summer crop Ben Vercoe  inspect a Pioneer grain sorghum Seed Technology Research In Key Environments (STRIKE) trial at Brookstead on the Darling Downs. Photo: Pioneer Seeds – Australia

GROWER selling has slowed to a trickle since mid-December as consumers generally sit out of the market on adequate coverage for the near term.

Across most of eastern Australia, rain in recent weeks has bolstered the body of feed in paddocks, effectively killing on-farm demand for additional grain to feed to livestock.

Export business is ticking along, with pulses, durum and canola as well as wheat and barley in volume being loaded at southern Australian ports.

Today Dec 14
Barley Downs $400 $422
ASW wheat Downs $400 $420
Sorghum Downs $395 Mar-Apr $418
Barley Melbourne $340 $362
ASW Melbourne $360 $377

Table 1: Indicative prices in Australian dollars per tonne.

Sorghum prospects brighter

Sorghum crops in northern New South Wales and southern Queensland are looking at mostly average yields, and harvest of the earliest planted crops is expected to start at the end of this month.

In Central Qld, 50-100mm of rain since early December, and more in places, will allow many growers to start planting in the ideal window later this month and into February.

ABARES has forecast the current sorghum crop at 1.5 million tonnes (Mt), but considerable upside is seen if storms for the northern region continue over the growing season.

“The market’s talking 1.5-2.5Mt,” one trader said.

Some growers on the southern Downs are still planting sorghum, and harvest in Qld is expected to run until June or July for late-planted Downs crops, and for CQ crops.

Traders report China looks like being the major destination for new-crop sorghum, and the domestic market is largely happy to stick with wheat and barley unless the red grain’s price falls markedly.

Stewarts Grain trader Robert Quinn said end-user demand for feedgrain is very thin at present as growers hope for higher prices and consumers hope the market downtrend continues.

“Consumers are seeing it drop every week.”

“There was a bit of selling before Christmas, and a bit last week, but it’s very quiet now.”

Mr Quinn said growers were looking for $400/t on farm for wheat and barley, well above current bids.

NSW rainfall figures in the week to 9am today includes: Mungindi 44mm; Narrabri 49mm, and Quirindi 28mm.

In Qld, registrations include: Dalby 10mm; Jambin 30mm; Jondaryan and Roma 27mm; Theodore 13mm.

Shipping stems indicate very little bulk wheat is to be exported out of Newcastle and Brisbane in coming months, further

Execution steps up in south

Harvest is still under way in parts of south-west Victoria, and heavy rain and localised flooding are hampering out-turn of grain in some districts.

Rainfall registrations in the week to 9am today in key grain-growing areas include: Dimboola 54mm; Nhill 29mm; Ouyen 66mm, and Warracknabeal and Woomelang 51mm.

Very heavy rain in the past week of 100-150mm has occurred mostly in hillier and grazing-focused areas.

Trade sources report the movement of grain by road and rail to port is getting back to full pace after the Christmas-New Year break, and export rather than domestic customers are looking to execute recently booked trades for both container and bulk business.

 

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