Feedgrain Focus: Wheat, sorghum firm in north

Liz Wells February 23, 2023

Harvesting sorghum between Moree and Goondiwindi this week. Photo: Kurstjens Farming

WHEAT and sorghum values have gained up to $10 per tonne in the past week as sorghum grabs the logistics spotlight and exposes some uncovered short positions on wheat.

Weather in the past week has been mostly ideal for harvesting sorghum, and crops with good yields and quality are filling trucks and going straight to container packers or to Brisbane for export.

In the southern market, prices have been steady as growers temper their selling of wheat and barley to match demand.

Today Feb 16
Barley Downs $403 $407
SFW wheat Downs $405 $395
Sorghum Downs $415 $405
Barley Melbourne $365 $365
ASW Melbourne $418 $420
SFW Melbourne $415 $415

Table 1: Indicative prices in Australian dollars per tonne.


Knight Commodities broker Gerard Doherty said the grower and transport focus was on sorghum now that harvest is in full swing.

As a consequence, wheat prices have rallied, and the delivered Brisbane market has hit $440/t, $10/t below sorghum.

“A few of these consumers have been pretty hand to mouth, and there are a couple of shorts in the market,” Mr Doherty said.

Many growers in the wider Dalby region on the Western Downs have sold out of wheat ahead of the sorghum harvest, and Mr Doherty said eastern consumers have had to look further afield to fill their commitments.

“The arc they can draw from easily is empty of wheat, and values we’re seeing now are keeping grain in the west.”

While many feedlots are advancing their May-June coverage, some are still buying for March-April, and have moved out of barley for the cooler months.

“A lot have switched to wheat.”

Mr Doherty said a number of growers running their own trucks were keen to keep their delivery runs short.

“They don’t want to go to Brisbane in case they have issues at delivery.”

Some of that has been seen with occasional loads being rejected or downgraded, mostly because of excessive admixture in samples.

Growers and traders with sorghum to sell are not holding back at current levels.

Mr Doherty said solid volumes were being booked for nearby delivery, as assured quality of the early crop was a safer bet than the later crop, which is mostly in need of a drink in the next week or two to preserve yield and quality outlook.

Flat in south

Southern growers are selling feed wheat and barley only in modest volumes as sales of lentils, canola and milling wheat take precedence.

In South Australia, AW Vater principal Kim Vater said trade in feed barley was thin because of limited export demand at present.

There’s still good domestic demand for wheat, and you can get $400 for ASW and SFW.

“There are bids out there, but the export market’s dropped off a little bit.

“The focus is more on wheat than barley.”

Mr Vater said SA growers were buying inputs for the next winter crop.

“They’ve got fertiliser and chemical on their mind.

“Some people missed out last year on fertiliser because they sat on the fence and hoped the price would come; it didn’t”.


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