SOME useful rain finally hit southern NSW during June, with a monthly total ranging from 30 millimetres along the western fringe and up to 60mm out on the eastern side.
Better late than never is the saying and certainly nobody would argue against that, but a lot of crops are now starting from a long way back and will want everything to go in their favour for the rest of the growing season.
Canola is probably the commodity most affected, starting from an already lower planted area after the exceptionally dry autumn.
Paddocks sown dry have then needed to wait until June to get enough moisture to fully germinate, leaving some regions up to a month behind the usual schedule.
Plant growth will slow over the next few weeks as we move through what is typically the coldest stretch of winter.
Once through that and into some warmer weather, if canola crops are to be any chance of catching up it will take some good moisture to allow that to happen.
Any stress from situations like ongoing dryness, heat or frost will only reduce flowering, and less flowers unfortunately means less yield.
For cereals the situation is not quite the same, with most growers able to adapt on the fly by switching to quicker growing varieties more suitable to the later start.
Wheat and barley crops have established well, but again a favourable finish will go a long way towards maximising crop potentials.
At this stage, it would be expected that trade flows for grain this harvest will remain similar to the last twelve months.
Canola production in NSW will supply the local oilseed crushers, with limited if any export business leaving the state.
East coast cereal grain production will likely continue to be soaked up by the domestic market, with higher grades being snapped up by the maltsters and flour millers and feed grades continuing to be sought by stock feeders.
Keep in mind that even with strong domestic demand, the global market still has influence on what our local price will be and there is not unlimited upside.
In normal situations, the east coast price shouldn’t go above the cost of buying grain in Western Australia and shipping it around to this side of the country.
With the west predominately a grain exporting state, their pricing is intrinsically linked to the global grain markets.
Hence even if NSW doesn’t have a big exportable surplus, there is still this indirect link to put a ceiling on local prices.