On price alone, US corn may stack up for import into southern Australia, but GM concerns and reasonable prospects for sorghum are likely to keep whole grain imports out of Australia for the foreseeable future, but oilseeds may be on the cards.
The prospects of a large sorghum plant in Australia this season have increased significantly with more rainfall across many parts of Queensland and northern New South Wales over the past week.
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.
Sorghum seed supplies are under pressure across the northern farming zone as recent rains, on the back of a meagre winter crop, fire up demand for seed as farmers gear up for a big planting.
Australia exported 30,668 tonnes of sorghum in August, down 74 per cent on the July total of 119,487t, and feed barley shipments also took a tumble to 89,838t, down 33pc from 134,728t shipped in July.
Feedgrain values in Victoria and southern New South Wales have jumped by up to $15 per tonne in the past week in response to frosts and dry weather which have depleted yield prospects in some areas.
Australia’s July exports of barley were down 54 per cent from the June total, while sorghum exports rose 23pc over the month, according to the latest export data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Australia’s total winter-crop production is forecast to drop 12 per cent nationally to 33.2 million tonnes (Mt), with production declines forecast in all eastern states, according to ABARES’ latest periodic Australian crop report.
A $605,000 grant from the Australian Research Council will fund a project to look into identifying sorghum genes with improved heat tolerance, and incorporating them into new varieties.
Rain in coming weeks is set to spark a mass planting of sorghum in northern NSW and southern Queensland, but growers are being warned not to plant without sufficient subsoil moisture in this early part of the summer-cropping window.