Western Australian growers have delivered 1.27 million tonnes of grain in the harvest to November 8. State bulk handler CBH Group said interest from export customers is on the rise as domestic demand from eastern states takes a back seat.
Following a large monthly gain of 6.5 per cent in September, the National Australia Bank Rural Commodities Index has continued to perform well month-on-month, rising a further 1.8pc in October. Sugar and barley were key drivers.
Harvest is rolling south through New South Wales, but its pressure on prices is yet to be seen, while on sorghum, a heatwave drove up prices based on uncertain prospects for the crop now being planted.
Australia is likely to produce a total winter crop for 2018/19 of 30 million tonnes (Mt) – give or take 2Mt – 30 per cent less than the previous season and the smallest crop in a decade, according to Rural Bank’s ‘Australian Crop Annual Review 2018’.
Feedgrain prices have traded steady to higher in the past week, while cottonseed values have eased in response to recent rain which has bolstered prospects for pasture growth and sorghum planting.
Western Australia’s winter crop continues to ride the roller coaster with savage frosts and the driest September in more than 80 years cruelling the prospect of a potential record crop, but rain over the weekend clawing back some of the losses.
Australian winter crop production estimates continue to tumble as drought grips the eastern cropping regions, with INTL FCStone the latest crop-watcher to downgrade its projections for wheat, barley and canola.
Australian barley’s dominant position in the Chinese market is set to continue and Australia’s substantial share of the Chinese wheat market also remains strong, although facing competition from North American suppliers.
Joining many other growers in southern NSW, Cootamundra farmer, James Burge, has acted early to minimise income loss in a drought-impacted year by cutting some of his crops for fodder.
Whilst it is far too early to celebrate, WA farmers will undoubtedly win the winter crop ‘game’ in 2018 with above average rainfall that will see above average production, despite recent frost scares. The eastern states are the complete opposite with rainfall registrations in the lowest decile and the outlook extremely dry.