Farmers through parts of the Nyngan, Tottenham, Trangie and Condobolin areas are just starting to draw breathe after a round the clock, last minute frenzy following the late June rain.
Tractors have not stopped after the rain stopped as farmers seize the last-ditch chance to plant wheat and barley crops for those farmers lucky enough to receive the patchy 20 to 30 millimetres of rain in the final days on June.
After 10 days of round the clock diesel-burning tractors are finally being idled as the last paddocks are seeded.
Planting cereal crops in early July goes against the grain for farmers, who increasingly favour getting crops in early to lessen the impact of the chancy spring weather.
But the dry autumn this year meant this wasn’t an option.
Greying farmers with a mind for the history of past seasons are recalling past years when crops were planted in July, and even August, when they have still harvested near average crops.
The more pragmatic growers know they will need a kind spring if the late planted crops are going to harvest a reasonable crop but near record high grain prices means it’s a risk worth taking.
The patchy nature of the late June rain and the lateness of the season will only see a small percentage of the intended area seeded.
Further north, the outlook for the 2018 winter crop is grim.
The late June rains were not enough to germinate dry planted crops.
Those crops that have managed to germinate on the minimal moisture are a beacon for kangaroos.
Last year was a difficult enough season for northern NSW and Southern Queensland but 2018 is being viewed as even worse.
Farmers through the prized areas of the Liverpool Plains and east of Moree are cropless.
Twelve months ago, the north west endured to worse of the drought while the eastern areas escaped the worst of it.
Now, the fertile black plains of the north-west NSW lie barren and dusty.
Northern grain markets were largely unchanged last week.
It seems that grain users have been forced to secure near-by coverage from the expensive interstate movements. Traders said it was very hard to conclude any business.
Northern old crop markets are at full execution costs to tranship grain from interstate and it seems a lot of business already concluded at prices that have been high enough to ship wheat and barley around by ship from interstate.
Stockfeed wheat was unchanged at $405 a tonne delivered into the Darling Downs. Traders are saying that interstate wheat is being offered at $385/t on truck at the Brisbane wharf.
World wheat markets pushed higher last week on growing concerns for the size of the European and Black Sea harvests.
A German farmers group lowered its forecast for the 2018 wheat crop to 15 per cent below last year as hot, dry weather in May and June cut yields. Questions remain over the size of Russia’s wheat crop as well.
Dry weather through May and June has resulted in a marked deterioration in the vegetative health of crops across Southern Russia is putting further pressure on production estimates but there is a considerable range in the production estimates.
Russia has harvested 13.1 million tonnes of wheat at July 5 with yields down 20pc on the yields at time last year.