Feedgrain Focus: Market steady as southern harvest picks up

Liz Wells, December 9, 2021

Deliveries into Victorian bulk-handling sites including GrainFlow at Charlton have ramped up in the past week. Photo: Cargill

SOUTHERN grain values have softened in the past week as good-quality grain from the fast-moving Victorian harvest hits the market.

In the north, the market has steadied as harvest undergoes a patchy restart after recent rain, and truckloads are delivered to cover near-term requirements as the market juggles flood-related road closures.

Falls in NSW have been the lightest and patchiest seen for weeks, and while some growers continue to be impacted by storms and showers, many have gotten back into harvest and/or carting grain in the past week.

Registrations in NSW in the week to 9am today include: Dubbo 52mm; Forbes 15mm; Gunnedah 76mm; Lake Cargelligo 7mm; Narrabri 27mm, and Tamworth 58mm;

Nearby Deferred
Barley Downs $305 steady $305 up $5 Jan
SFW wheat Downs $328 down $2 $328 up $3 Jan
Sorghum Downs $350 up $20 $330 up $25 Mar
Barley Melbourne $320 down $15 $315 down $10 Jan
ASW wheat Melbourne $412 up $2 $415 steady Jan
SFW wheat Melbourne NQ $352 Jan

Table 1: Indicative delivered prices in Australian dollars per tonne.

North dodges water

Northern feedlots continue to put their hand up for new-crop barley, and traders are working hard to find trucks and routes for them to navigate to get grain to consumers.

“Logistics is still a dog’s breakfast,” one trader said.

“Access to a lot of feedlots is limited because there are roads cut on the Western Downs and near the border.”

Road and rail paths to export out of Brisbane and Newcastle remain accessible, and traders are still putting their hands up for quality grain to fill nearby vessels.

The sorghum market has rallied to reflect some late covering for export demand, and the difficulty in accessing on-farm grain on the Darling Downs as boggy conditions prevail.

South makes progress

Wilken Grain trader Andrew Kelso said growers in western Victoria have been able to make good harvest progress in the past week, and mostly clear conditions are a welcome sight for the forecast into next week.

South Australia has also made good harvest progress, and is also expecting a run of fine days.

“The market’s pretty steady, and quality has held up.”

Reports of a small amount of frosted grain in the Minyip district are coming in now that the Wimmera harvest has started, but most growers in Victoria are harvesting good-quality malting and feed barley, with wheat coming is ASW, APW and H1.

“All the better-quality wheat will be in Victoria,” Mr Kelso said of the southern market.

With canola and lentils still seeing the most aggressive bids, Mr Kelso said growers were not rushing to sell any unpriced grain.

“I think farmers are busy trying to harvest and they’ll think about marketing later.”

In the plains and outer slopes of southern NSW, wet weather appears to have downgraded significant amounts of wheat to SFW.

This is already pricing into domestic consumers, and some export demand from South-East Asia is said to be emerging.

The lateness of the southern NSW and Victorian harvest has some trucks running from farm to port, and others tied up in carting locally.

“You cannot get a truck for love nor money in December because harvest is so late, and there’s so much work on farm.

“That’ll change in January.”

“Most of the stuff in the Mallee that’s coming off is APW or better, and that will concentrate shipping into Victorian ports,” another trader said.

“Southern NSW certainly has quality issues, but Vic is looking OK.”

Grain Focus principal Michael Jones said some new-crop barley is hitting the market on the south-west slopes of NSW.

“We’ve only just started on wheat, and it seems to be holding flat, but barley has come under some pressure.”

The shipping stem’s focus on prompt wheat, coupled with the stockfeed market’s readiness to extend coverage on SFW from areas that have had considerable rain, has tempered the southern appetite for barley.

“It’s finding demand into the export channel for barley that’s the problem.”

Some showers are forecast for today and tomorrow in parts of NSW, but totals expected are small, and warm to hot and dry weather is expected to follow.


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