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WA intake hits 13Mt as harvest passes peak: CBH

by Liz Wells, 17 December 2018

GRAIN RECEIVALS from the Western Australian harvest to date have hit 13 million tonnes (Mt), with 2.77Mt received in the week to 13 December, according to CBH Group’s latest weekly harvest.

After two weeks of peak receivals, daily tonnages started to reduce across the state towards the end of last week, and CBH said some growers’ were coming to an end.

“We have been seeing good tonnages in all zones during the past two weeks, and the Kwinana zone is on track for a potentially record-breaking harvest,” CBH Group general manager operations David Capper said.

“Before harvest, we built 1Mt of emergency storage at several strategic sites which has been well utilised, and is now starting to fill.”

Road and rail are coming under pressure now to move grain to port to meet the demanding summer shipping program, which is fully booked for all of December and the first half of January.

The WA harvest has now moved into its closing weeks, and CBH Group said the trade was now focused on executing existing business, with more than 2Mt of grain to be shipped by mid-January.

Growers have continued to sell barley as the trade covers its harvest and January requirements, and barley receivals have exceeded 4Mt.

Malting percentage have remained at more than 35 per cent of receivals, with feed barley trading at $310-$315 per tonne free in store (FIS), and malting $10/t higher.

With a deficit in the world barley market, and good demand from the east coast, CBH Group said there was buying interest at these values.

Delivering grain to CBH site at Miling. Photo: Tony White

Roughly 40pc of the WA wheat crop harvested to date has been low protein, and the market has been paying a premium of up $40/t tonne above APW1 for Australian Hard (AH) varieties.

This compared with the traditional premium of around $10/ for AH over APW1, and reflects the lower volume of high-protein deliveries.

AH has been trading at $400/t FIS, and APW1 prices have remained firm at $365-$370/t FIS.

East-coast interest in wheat has remained flat, as end-users focus on harvest in their respective regions, but the market has started to see some export interest from Asia.

Growers were active sellers of wheat last week as a result of relatively strong prices and harvest now being in its final stages.

CBH Group said the canola harvest was close to complete, and most growers were now harvesting cereals.

Canola prices have remained stable throughout the program, based on relatively good European demand as well as some interest from the east coast.

Last week, canola traded at $575-$580/t FIS, which met reasonable selling interest from growers.

Albany

Minor rain delays in the Albany zone continued its harvests’ stop-start operations last week.

Albany has now received 1.8Mt, compared with 2.3Mt at this time last year.

“Quality so far has been good, with 50pc of the 1Mt of barley received making malt grades,”  Albany zone manager Greg Thornton said.

“For wheat, the protein overall has been above earlier expectations, although there is evidence of lower falling numbers, and some downgrading as a result of rain during the harvest period.”

Mr Thornton said some growers in the zone’s north and east districts had finished harvest, and most areas were expected to finish by Christmas.

“Shipping for December remains strong, and we will switch our accumulation at country sites from barley to wheat in the coming week.”

Esperance

Dunn Rock on Friday was the zone’s first site to close for the season in a week which featured more rain delays as many growers finished harvest and finalisedtheir deliveries.

“We will start to close sites in the next couple of weeks as deliveries dry up,” Esperance zone manager Mick Daw said.

Geraldton

Geraldton zone has continued to see large tonnages received, with 3Mt now in the system, compared with 2.5Mt estimated at the beginning of harvest.

“We are seeing a bit of pressure and frustration at some sites due to available storage space, but we are working very hard to where possible, keep services alive and keep deliveries efficient for growers,” Geraldton zone manager Duncan Gray said.

Kwinana

Another week of good harvest progress has seen the Kwinana zone take in 1.4Mt to take its season total to 6.3Mt.

“Growers in the north and east of the zone are starting to finish their programs, and some sites in these areas will close for the season.

“With a good run heading into Christmas, the zone will be very close to our estimate for the season within the next week,” Kwinana zone assistant manager Allan Walker said.

Source: CBH Group

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