UNSETTLED weather has provided welcome rain for NSW, but northern farmers are sweating on more to proceed with sorghum planting.
Farmers are anxious to plant sorghum in the coming weeks to make up for the absence of a winter crop and to take advantage of the current high feed grain prices.
But soaking rain is needed if they are to proceed.
The heaviest rain gravitated to the northern coastal areas with lighter showers across the tablelands and the state’s farmer areas.
Moree and Narrabri received 20mm to 25mm for the week. Areas east of Moree received less than 15mm. Gunnedah and Quirindi on the Liverpool Plains received 15mm to 18mm for the week. Rainfall totals west of Moree and Narrabri were less than 20mm.
Months of dry weather has left the bone-dry soil and in need of a significant rainfall event to justify planting sorghum.
Some farmers are even shying away from planting sorghum, instead preferring to wait for cereal plantings next year when the soil moisture reserves have hopefully improved.
Better falls were recorded in the Darling Downs where tractors will be working around the clock planting sorghum.
Dalby recorded some best falls with around 100mm of rain over the past seven days.
Sorghum prices were under pressure last week as the rain started to fall across the Darling Downs.
Sorghum bids into the Downs have eased to about $370 a tonne down from as high as $415/t in August.
Nonetheless, sorghum prices of more than $350/t on farm will make for some good returns so long as there is rain to finish the crop.
Wheat values into the Downs also softened with last week’s rain.
Stockfeed wheat into the Downs was $448/t down from $460 a week earlier.
Wheat values are expected to remain well supported because of the modest harvest in southern Queensland and NSW, with most of the supplies having to be shipped across from Western Australia.
Canola prices remain firm with crushers concerned that a large amount of the crop has been lost to drought and hay. Canola gained $7/t to $675/t Newcastle. Canola values have rallied by $65/t since August.
Speculation is building that crushers will be forced to bring seed across from Western Australia and possibly from Canada to make up for the drought ravaged east coast crop.
The US Department of Agriculture released its October world supply and demand report last week.
USDA started to pull back its lofty estimates from Australia’s grain harvest following the east coast drought.
Australia’s wheat production was lowered by 1.5 million tonnes to 18.5 million with further reductions expected in the coming months.
USDA cut Australia’s wheat exports by one million tonnes to 13 million, which would be the smallest in a decade, if realised.
Questions also remain over the size of the Canadian and Argentine wheat crops where weather is jeopardising yields.
Harvest delays continued in Canada’s western provinces due to snow and wet weather whereas dry weather has private forecasters cutting crop forecasts in Argentina.
A significant tightening in major exporter wheat supplies is expected to keep world prices well supported over the next six months.