WESTERN Australia’s dominant bulk handler CBH Group has received more than 600,000 tonnes of grain in the harvest to Friday, with delivery pace ramping up over last week following a slow start earlier in October.
CBH Group general manager operations Ben Macnamara said CBH was expecting a slightly below-average crop this year.
“A late start to the season, coupled with a hot and dry spring, has meant a hard finish for growers across the state,” Mr Macnamara said.
“There is variability in yields, with some areas seeing yields better than expected, in spite of the lack of rain and the impact of frost in the southern regions.
“Others are reporting below-expected yields; it’s a mixed bag at the moment.”
More than half the tonnage delivered to the system to Friday has been barley, followed by wheat and canola.
In the the Albany, Esperance and Kwinana zones, early receivals of barley have shown a higher percentage of feed compared with malting deliveries when compared with previous years.
“Due to the seasonal conditions, we are seeing some early signs of variability in crop quality, and have proactively sought to make available a range of off-grades for barley, oats and canola.
“These off-grades will be offered at sites where it makes sense to do so, with various factors taken into consideration by the team.”
CBH has enhanced the way it manages chemical residues in the current harvest period.
As with prior years, CBH requires growers to declare chemical usage through its CDF app upon delivery.
“We manage chemical residues in order to protect access to international grain markets and maintain the excellent reputation and integrity of the Western Australian grain supply chain.”
Around the zones:
Most of the tonnes in WA’s northernmost cropping zone have been delivered into the Geraldton Terminal, Carnamah, Mingenew and Moonyoonooka.
The zone’s first load for this harvest was 50t of canola from the Mullewa area received in Geraldton on 8 October.
Most tonnage received to Friday has been wheat and barley, and quality has been good, but yields are slightly lower than anticipated.
Most sites are now open, and the remainder will open this week.
Kwinana North and South
In the Kwinana North zone, deliveries started with a load of barley at Koorda on 10 October, and all sites scheduled to open will be operating this week.
Tonnes have been more evenly spread across sites than other zones, with the majority delivered to Kalannie, McLevie and Merredin.
Following rain of 5-18 millimetres which halted harvest for a couple of days, wheat and canola receivals in Kwinana North are expected to increase this week.
Harvest began in Kwinana South’s eastern districts, and the biggest tonnages have come into Cunderdin, Kellerberrin and Tammin, with Canola and wheat samples are showing good quality at the moment.
Harvest in the Albany zone got off to an early start with a load of canola received on 10 October at the Albany Terminal from a grower near Boxwood Hill.
Almost all sites are open, with Gairdner receiving the majority of the zone’s early loads, which have been mostly canola of good quality, with snails less of an issue than expected.
Nyabing, Dumbelyung, Pingrup and Wagin sites opened lat week, and Broomehill is expected to open this next week for canola deliveries.
Barley has made up most of the zone’s receivals to Friday.
All sites with the exception of Dunn Rock were open as of Friday and receiving grain, which has mostly been barley and canola, with some wheat, and one load of lentils.
Harvest was interrupted on Wednesday night by widespread rain, but delays have been minimal as amounts were small.
Protein in wheat looks like being higher than was evident at this time last year, and quality of deliveries to CBH up to Friday has been mixed.
Wheat prices rose $5-$6 per tonne over last week to around $330/t free in store (FIS) Kwinana.
Grower selling has been limited to date, with most growers waiting to see the quality of the wheat they harvest before they price their grain.
International interest is better this year, with WA prices equivalent to export parity as east-coast demand remains quiet going into harvest.
Feed barley prices softened in the week to Friday by more than $10/t to $320/t FIS Kwinana.
This is a direct result of limited east-coast demand for WA feed barley, with a good Victorian barley crop expected to fulfil the demand from northern New South Wales and southern Queensland.
Internationally, limited demand for barley exists, with the impending Chinese anti-dumping investigation decision due on 19 November, and Thailand’s recent announcement on the banning of glyphosate weighing on the Australian market.
CBH has been segregating WA feed barley based on chemical declarations for several years to maintain markets,
However, this is not necessarily replicated across the country.
Malting barley market is in a holding pattern awaiting the outcome of the Chinese anti-dumping investigation.
Going on early results, malting selection rates could be down, as the very difficult end to the season is resulting in increased screenings.
Canola traded steady over last week, with values at $615-$620/t FIS Kwinana.
Interest is predominantly European, and the market is focused on this business.
With a projected small crop, exports will be very limited this season.
Prices for oats rose $2/t last week to $312-$315 per tonne FIS Kwinana.
Interest from key markets is being seen, and domestic mills are looking to cover some of their requirements.
Good prospects for Victorian oat crops have CBH not expecting to see demand from the east coast.
Competition this season is being seen from South American, Canadian and European oats which is likely to cap the upside on oats, despite a smaller crop expected in WA.
Source: CBH Group