The headers are rolling

Peter McMeekin, October 4, 2016

Nidera Australia, Peter McMeekinIt has been very hard to find a good news, grain market story in Australia in recent weeks. As if it wasn’t enough with the floods in central and southern New South Wales, more frosts in Western Australia, typhoons and hail in South Australia, diseased chickpeas in northern New South Wales or nutrient leaching in the Victorian Mallee the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) is now telling us the rain will most likely continue into harvest.
To quote their climate outlook overview the BOM says “Strong chance of above average October to December rainfall in southeast and northwest Australia. Cooler days and nights are likely for much of the country for the October to December period. Climate influences include a negative Indian Ocean Dipole, warmer than average ocean temperatures surrounding northern Australia, and an ENSO-neutral tropical Pacific, though showing some La Niña-like characteristics”. Wet and cool – is not what the Aussie farmer has ordered and it will certainly make for a delayed and interesting harvest across many regions.

Speaking of harvest the headers are rolling in Central Queensland with the first deliveries of wheat and chickpeas taken at several depots in the Mackay Zone last week. Feeling totally left out, the rain gods rolled into southern and central highlands later in the week temporarily halting proceedings.

It may be early days, nonetheless quality and yield reports have been excellent to date. Several reports of chickpea yields well over 2.5 metric tonne per hectare (mt/ha) coinciding with prices rallying to over $1000/mt NTP Mackay has a few growers grinning from ear to ear. Good luck to them I say!

Harvest is also underway in Western Australia with Carnamah, in the Geraldton zone, receiving the state’s first canola deliveries over the weekend.

Pulse Australia released their revised pulse production estimates for 2016 on Friday and the big mover was chickpeas – no surprise there.  Production is now forecast at 1.28 million metric tonne (mmt) which is down from 440,000mt from their July estimate of 1.72mmt. However, this is still up on 2015 production and a large export program will be required to avoid a significant carry out next year. The big loser was New South Wales as a result of the prolonged wet weather and disease. In addition, a shortage of fungicide coupled with an inability to get onto country with ground rigs and planes booked out weeks in advance has put much needed disease control programs in disarray.

From a cereals viewpoint, it would be safe to say that production estimates have peaked and tonnage is certainly coming off the New South Wales, South Australian and Western Australian crops. The hard part is to quantify the losses and determine how much compensation is occurring in the regions still benefitting from the abnormally wet season. No doubt reports will begin to emerge in the next few weeks that will allow the market to get a better understanding of the production impact in each state.

I am sure the majority of the crops across Australia look great so let’s get out in the paddocks, take some photos and flood social media with some good news stories, we all need some cheering up.

Source: Nidera Australia Weekly Market report: Peter McMeekin is Nidera Australia’s Origination Manager.


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