Good spring rainfall and larger than expected plantings resulted in a dramatic turnaround in the NSW canola crop, as revealed in the ABARES February Crop Report.
ABARES raised its forecast for the NSW 2017-18 canola crop by 215,000 tonnes to 618,000t, while Victoria’s crop was raised by 90,000t to 750,000t.
Part of the increase was attributed to a larger canola planting by farmer’s ABARES said.
This dramatic reversal of fortune from the pre-harvest ideas that poor growing conditions could see the NSW and Victorian canola crop fall short of the needs of the domestic crush requirements.
Domestic crush capacity has expanded significantly in recent years.
The annual canola crush in eastern Australia is around 900,000t, according to the Australian Oilseed Federation.
Canola is expected to be a popular choice with farmers in 2018 following the good season last year.
A likely downturn in the pulse plantings may also see more farmers swing to canola.
The timing of planting rains will also have a significant bearing on canola plantings.
Unseasonably hot and dry weather has savaged the state’s sorghum crop, ABARES revealed.
Cotton crops have also suffered, they said.
ABARES cut its forecast NSW sorghum plantings by 25 per cent to 150,000 hectares from earlier forecasts as farmers cut back in planting intentions with the dry summer.
Yields have also suffered with the adverse weather, ABARES said, with the state sorghum crop now expected at 465,000t, down from earlier expectations of about 600,000t.
Queensland sorghum crop production estimates were also slashed by ABARES, with the Central Queensland output now expected to be well down on the earlier forecasts.
Australia’s 2017-18 sorghum crop is now forecast at 1.46 million tonnes, slightly up on last year’s one million tonnes, but well below average.
The shrinking sorghum crop continues to support grain prices across northern NSW and southern Queensland.
Darling Downs grain markets pushed higher last week as sorghum crop ideas continue to decline.
Sorghum bids were $13 a tonne higher at $293/t delivered into the Darling Downs while Brisbane values were $14/t higher at $304/t.
Trader bids into Newcastle were also sharply higher.
Alternative feed grain values were supported by the big weekly increase in sorghum.
Stock feed wheat and feed barley bids into the Darling Downs were $5/t higher at $330/t to $335/t delivered, but the sellers for this grain remain scarce.
Southern grain markets continue to be well supported as buyers chase limited supplies.
Victorian barley bids jumped by $8/t to $265/t Melbourne on strong exporter demand.
Feed barley prices in South Australia and Western Australia were also sharply higher last week.
Exporters are thought to have sold a significant volume of Australian canola to Chinese buyers.
Australian government data shows that more than one million tonnes of barley has been exported between October and December with a further 1.3 million tonnes scheduled to be shipped through to the end of February.
World grain prices continued to firm last week as drought conditions through the US hard red winter wheat areas intensify.
US wheat futures ended the week higher for a fourth consecutive week.
This was despite a broadly bearish monthly US Department of Agricuture report where US wheat exports were lowered by 700,000t at the expense of larger Russian wheat exports.