Feedgrain Focus: White grains lift, sorghum softens

Liz Wells February 24, 2022

Sorghum is delivered earlier this month to Broadbent’s Jondaryan depot on the Darling Downs. Photo: CHS Broadbent

DOMESTIC feed wheat and barley markets have firmed this week on offshore rallies, and competition from exporters drawing grain from across state borders.

SFW wheat is the hot property in the trade, and is being sought by feedmills and exporters with equal enthusiasm.

The weight of a bumper sorghum crop has put some pressure on export bids as the supply chain starts to fill, and with harvest thought to be less than 20 per cent through.

Today Feb 17
Barley Downs $292 $288
SFW wheat Downs $313 $300
Sorghum Downs $286 $298
Barley Melbourne $325 $322
ASW wheat Melbourne $360 $355
SFW wheat Melbourne $355 $340

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


Prices for sorghum have eased in the past week under supply-side pressure as the red grain waits in the queue behind wheat to get its ex Brisbane bulk shipment program rolling.

However, storms and showers in the past week have brought patchy rain to some sorghum-growing regions in Queensland and northern New South Wales, where it has stopped or slowed desiccation and harvest.

Higher registrations for the week to 9am today in Queensland include: Dalby 37mm; Roma 30mm; Surat 19mm; Taroom 70mm; Wandoan 89mm.

NSW registrations include: Dubbo 34mm; Moree and Mungindi 38mm; Narrabri 17mm; Pallamallawa 59mm; Quirindi 15mm.

Reports of bumper yields and high test weights are coming in for early crops, with some Darling Downs dryland paddocks producing 9t per hectare, and more marginal areas yielding a pleasing 4t/ha or more.

SFW wheat is trading in the domestic market in reasonable volume as growers and traders jump on current bids.

“SFW is firmer this week for sure,” one trader said.

Wheat and barley downgraded by rain at harvest in southern Queensland and northern NSW is supplying the domestic market.

“Growers are hanging on to their protein and selling SFW.

“With what’s going on with Russia and Ukraine, they think milling grades will be worth a fortune, and they could be right.”

ASW unloved in south

In the southern market, wheat from as far away as central NSW is being road-freighted to Port Adelaide for prompt export, and this is providing competition for domestic consumers buying out of NSW.

Traders report plenty of SFW and GP1 wheat is available, and with test weights of at least 68-70 kilograms per hectolitre, and protein of around 11 per cent minimum, it is attracting plenty of interest in offshore and domestic markets.

GeoCommodities broker Brad Knight said price moves in the past week indicate SFW is in greater demand than ASW.

“Noone wants ASW at the moment, and there’s a fair bit of it in Victoria,” Mr Knight said.

“The bulk (export) focus is on feed wheats.”

Domestic consumers are chipping away on their buying programs.

“They seem to have a reasonable amount of cover, and most of what people are looking at is export.”

He said domestic barley was harder to buy than wheat because of the pick-up and delivery points the domestic consumer was chasing.

“It’s more challenging for the buy side; there’s plenty of delivered Melbourne, but that’s not where everyone wants it.”

Mr Knight said Australian prices were relatively steady when compared with the volatility seen this week in Northern Hemisphere markets, where Russian forces crossing the Ukraine border, and concerns about dry conditions for the North American crop, have prompted big rallies.


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