Wheat takes a dive

Wheat takes a dive


Dean Hancock, “Glen Isle”, Narrabri, earlier this year forward sold some of his grain.

Dean Hancock, “Glen Isle”, Narrabri, earlier this year forward sold some of his grain.

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AUSTRALIAN wheat prices have taken a significant dive during the past two months with prices for Australian Premium White (APW) wheat at about $270 a tonne.

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AUSTRALIAN wheat prices have taken a significant dive during the past two months with prices for Australian Premium White (APW) wheat at about $270 a tonne.

Large wheat production in the northern hemisphere has been influencing Australian prices and the opportunity for price bounces has become more limited as the season goes on.

Robinson Grain trading manager Adam Robinson, Dubbo, said wheat prices had been as high as $330/t but had decreased by $60/t during the past six weeks.

“There’s been a decrease from where we have been in crop prices,” he said.

Ag Scientia director Lloyd George, Melbourne, said reductions to Australian wheat prices had been influenced by large international production in Russia and the Ukraine and other grains being harvested.

With 90 per cent of the world’s wheat production occurring in the northern hemisphere, Mr George said those areas experiencing bad weather conditions could rally Australian prices.

Mr George said the global wheat demand was down a little on last year, but had still remained relatively strong.

“In global terms, the global wheat production is supposed to be 705m tonnes and global consumption is about 700m tonnes,” he said.

Last year, Australian growers exported a considerable amount of wheat to China due to its crops receiving significant downgrades.

Mr George said that was unlikely to be the case this year as the harvest in China had been better and the country would be able to harvest a good quality crop.

Due to Australia’s location in regards to South East Asia, Mr Robinson said there would always be demand for Australian grain given export ease.

He said the market was still holding a premium over NSW due to the fact there was potential grain that would need to be moved north into the Darling Downs next year.

“Production up there is in doubt, they’re having a very dry winter,” Mr Robinson said.

“We’re still going to have an export surplus on the east coast of Australia though.”

Mr George said some farmers would have pre-sold wheat when prices were at $330/t but with the threat of a dry spring, a lot have decided to see where the season goes.

“The threat of El Niño did hold farmers back from selling larger volumes,” he said.

NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) technical specialist in grain services, Peter Matthews, Orange, said a lot of early variety wheats would be harvested this season.

“A lot of producers planted varieties like Lancer and Suntop with the early break they had,” he said.

Australian growers had a good start to the season with crops in southern NSW looking very promising.

However, some areas in central NSW and a majority of northern NSW would need more rain to avoid a hard spring.

Mr Matthews said disease and pests hadn’t been too much of an issue this season, with most growers opting to plant varieties with good disease packages.

“There were some problems with aphid insects earlier on in the season, but they’re mostly under control now,” he said.

Mr Matthews said to ensure producers had the best season they could, they need to be monitoring their soil’s nitrogen levels to ensure they maximised yield and grain quality.

Careful marketing tack at Narrabri

WITH some in-crop rain this year’s wheat season is looking reasonable for Narrabri farmer Dean Hancock, “Glen Isle”.

Mr Hancock (pictured) share farms 220 hectares of wheat with Ken Frater consisting of 40ha of Spitfire and 180ha of Suntop.

All of Mr Hancock’s crop was planted on a full profile during the middle of May and has received 50 millimetres of in-crop rainfall since.

Earlier this year Mr Hancock decided to forward sell some grain when prices were at $293 a tonne.

Mr Hancock forward sold 100t which helped cover a lot of their input costs.

“We were happy to forward sell a little bit, it was a good price,” he said.

With the uncertainty of the season, Mr Hancock said he would wait until the end of harvest before he sold any more grain.

Mr Hancock said he carried out a fungicide spray on his Suntop crop for yellow leaf spot that had started to appear on the tops of some of his leaves.

“It may have been a bit premature but we did the spray for safety measures,” he said.

Since the spray, the disease has been under control.

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