Feedgrain Focus: Prices moves mixed amid thin demand

Liz Wells, September 1, 2022

A crop of Vixen wheat at Yuna in WA’s Geraldton zone, where the start of harvest is only weeks away. Photo: Jasmyn Allen

PRICE moves have been mixed and mostly moderate in the past week in continued thin volume as the local industry shifts its focus from drivers such as the Northern Hemisphere new crop to the quality profile of the eastern Australian harvest.

Reports are trickling in that the earliest Central Queensland (CQ) wheat crops are being harvested, and the region is expected to be going at pace by the end of the month.

If rainfall is minimal between now and harvest, Queensland wheat has every chance of making Hard or Prime Hard segregations, and Victoria’s Mallee could well be the same.

However, New South Wales’ wet growing season means it is likely to produce APW-type wheat at best in many districts.

This has most consumers comfortably sitting out of the market and waiting for supply-side pressure to hit feedgrain values.

Prompt Aug 25 New-crop Aug 25
Barley Downs $372 $380 $360 $350
SFW wheat Downs $390 $395 $375 $385
Sorghum Downs $355 $345 $340 $330
Barley Melbourne $365 $360 $365 $363
ASW Melbourne $405 $400 $400 $405
SFW Melbourne $395 $380 $370 nq

Table 1: Indicative prices in Australian dollars per tonne.

North goes quiet

In the week to 9am today, rainfall in Queensland included: Capella 12mm; Emerald 9mm; Dalby and Roma 4mm; Springsure 29mm.

NSW growers beyond the Central West were grateful for a mostly dry week, but some farms in this already sodden region received more rain, and registrations included: Condobolin 25mm; Forbes 20mm; Lake Cargelligo 19mm; Manildra 18mm; Parkes 24mm, and West Wyalong 20mm.

“It’s all a bit quiet, and the bid-offer spread is pretty wide,” one trader said.

“Some growers are trying to sell old-crop stuff, but most consumers are covered into harvest.”

The first new-crop barley in the Maranoa and Western Downs region is expected to be hitting the bins by late September, and is destined for feedlots, regardless of quality.

Sorghum continues to make its way in containers to the Port of Brisbane, and is still being shipped in bulk from all three Queensland ports as well as Newcastle.

South season consolidates

Most growers in Victoria’s Wimmera and Southern Mallee have had welcome rain in the past week, and registrations include: Dimboola 39mm; Horsham 41mm; Nhill 29mm; Rupanyup 14mm; Sea Lake 18mm, and Swan Hill 14mm.

In South and Western Australia, registrations were patchy and generally in the single digits.

Grower selling has contracted as growers concentrate on spraying fungicides on their crops and applying nitrogen top-ups where possible.

GeoCommodities broker Brad Knight said execution remains a problem in the domestic market, with some destinations being more problematic than others.

“It all comes back to labour,” Mr Knight said.

Patches of consumer demand are popping up as mills look to cover themselves into harvest.

“The market’s so choppy; the grower’s not selling much, and it’s stop-start engagement from the consumer.”

With the soft season to date, Emerald Grain trader Simone Dax said wheat protein is looking like it will be in demand from the upcoming harvest in Victoria as well as in NSW.

“On new crop, APW and above is firmer,” Ms Dax said.

While consumers are well covered on old crop, trade sources generally say they have little reason to move on new crop.

“Feed consumers are seeing a low-protein crop coming.”

They are also seeing another very large crop of faba beans, which are expected to go into ruminant rations at maximum inclusion rates to bolster the protein available in ASW-type wheat.

It is expected to be in bountiful supply in NSW at least, where big stocks still exist from last year’s harvest.

“The export program on old-crop is starting to wind up so internal freight rates have come off.”


Woodside Commodities manager Hamish Steele-Park said cottonseed values have firmed a little in the past week in the south and held steady in the north, with ginning thought to be around 60 per cent completed.

In Queensland, values were little changed from last week at around $350/t delivered Downs prompt.

Mr Steele-Park said new-crop was well offered, but bids are hard to extract, with around $20-$30/t between the buy and sell sides..

One vessel bound for California is loading 22,000t of cottonseed in Brisbane this week, and

“Export demand is still evident but supply-side constraints are restricting export pace,” Mr Steele-Park said.

“Australian cottonseed is competitive on the export front as the US values shot up after the USDA recently slashed over 2 million bales off the US crop due to the drought in Texas, where a lot of the cotton is grown.”


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