Feedgrain Focus: Prices soften despite subdued selling

Liz Wells April 8, 2021

Early sown crops like this wheat at Wallendbeen are off to a flying start. Photo: Growmore Agronomy Services


PRICES for feedgrain have softened over the Easter week by up to $10 per tonne as consumers price in the Northern Hemisphere inverse from July onward, and planting of eastern Australia’s winter crop gathers pace in mostly ideal conditions.

Trade sources said feed millers are extending their coverage for the current quarter, and growers as well as traders are selling a steady amount, despite the softening values.

This week Change
Barley Downs April-May $265 Steady
Barley Melbourne April-May $250 Down
Barley Melbourne January $255 Down
Sorghum Downs April-May $300 Down
Wheat Downs April-May $290 Down
Wheat Melbourne April-May $305 Down
Wheat Melbourne January $295 Down


Riordan Grains general manager Mark Lewis said the market was quiet.

“It feels like barley is not really getting a whole lot of business.

“Maybe we will start to see the domestic feeder come into the market.”

Mr Lewis said this was where grain sold in the current quarter would have to go if it had not already been booked for export.

“Now everyone is trying to see where they can do new business for July onwards, and with the Northern Hemisphere inverse, it’s going to be harder to do.”

However, Australian wheat still looks competitive into Asian and other markets.

“I think we’re fairly priced.”

In the Riverina in southern New South Wales, Godde’s Grain trader Peter Gerhardy said growers were off to a strong and early start with winter-crop planting, and were selling small parcels of grain throughout their program.

Recent rain on top of good subsoil moisture was allowing growers to plant grazing canola, oats and wheat in the early window.

“If we get a late break and farmers get busy in May with planting, then they’re too busy to sell; this year the early rain means they’re pretty relaxed,” Mr Gerhardy said.

Mild weather coupled with recent rain means crops are germinating quickly and evenly.

“One grower planted grazing wheat a week ago yesterday and could see the rows up on Easter Saturday; that’s the fastest he’s ever seen.”

Mr Gerhardy said growers were selling a load or two of barley and pulses here and there to ensure they didn’t have a large carry-out at this year’s harvest.

Sorghum mixed

Further rain on the Darling Downs in the past week has made yield prospects for late-planted sorghum crops even brighter, but exacerbated quality issues for crops on the point of harvest.

Alliance Grains principal Luke Walker said limited demand for nearby sorghum had tempered the impact of downgrading.

“There’s a fair bit of Sorghum 2 around, but there’s a lot more Sorghum 1 coming up in the later crop,” Mr Walker said.

The sorghum market has not rallied sharply on what could have been a quality-related squeeze on Sorghum 1, which Mr Walker said reflected limited near-term demand.

“It’s hard to buy good sorghum at the moment, but a lot of what’s happening now is the market’s executing older contracts.”


Cottonseed also lost ground this week, dropping around $5/t.

“A lack of domestic buying interest means values are reliant on export,” Woodside Commodities Hamish Steele-Park said, adding that Australian cottonseed was around US$20/t cheaper into destination export markets than US seed.

“While there is some export demand, the volume is capped as China is not a buyer.”

Ex gin values this week are around AU$355/t ex southern NSW gin, $330/t in the Macquarie Valley, $340/t in the Gwydir and $335/t in the Namoi.

“Recent flooding has caused some cotton crop losses in the Gwydir and Namoi regions, but in the scheme of things, it will not impact overall cotton production.

“Rain has been good for dam levels with the cotton crop now expected to be 4 million bales for 2022.”



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