Sorghum planting has belatedly started in northern NSW following last week’s widespread rain.
Northern farmers have been eager to commence sorghum planting to take advantage of the current strong prices, but dry weather has been holding them back.
Patchy October showers have been gradually improving soil moisture levels but without the soaking rain needed to sufficiently wet soils to trigger planting.
Last week delivered a general 30mm to 40mm of rain across most of the Moree, Garah, Croppa Creek, Bellata, Narrabri, Gunnedah, Mullaly and Quirindi areas. Most of the northern summer cropping region have received 50mm to 80mm of rain in October.
A few patches are still shy of 50mm for the month, but most farmers are saying they have enough moisture to plant sorghum.
Enough rain has fallen in the past two weeks to plant a large sorghum crop. Traders are saying they expect more than 300,000 hectares of sorghum will be planted in the coming weeks across Southern Queensland. NSW sorghum plantings are expected to exceed 150,000 hectares.
Seed companies are saying they still have some sorghum seed available, but supplies are limited.
Grains markets had a softer tonne with last week’s rain. Stockfeed wheat into the Darling Downs was down $2 a tonne at $446/t while feed barley was unchanged at $440/t.
Sorghum values strengthened as buyers emerged after the $30/t dip in prices a week earlier on the forecast of widespread rain in the north. Newcastle sorghum finished the week $23/t higher at $380/t.
Southern grain markets were also softer with the northern rain which prompted old crop selling. Melbourne APW ended the week down $7/t at $440/t.
Southern farmers are showing limited interest in selling new crop grain, with many Victorian farmers now saying it will be one of the worst seasons in memory.
The Grain Industry Association of Victoria conducted the annual Crop Tour last week.
The Tour comprised two days of crop inspections through Victoria’s grain productions area and extending into the southern Riverina.
Although the tour results are still to be published, feedback from tour participants echoed the farmer sentiments that it will be one of the smallest harvests in recent times.
Western Australian grain prices were close to unchanged. APW into Kwinana was $2/t higher at $365/t and ASW was unchanged at $348/t.
Australia exporters are starting to uncover export demand for new crop wheat, which is likely to be shipped from Western Australia.
Australia sold 55,000t of feed wheat to the Philippines last week at prices that work back to the ASW prices.
Wheat and barley harvest has kicked off in Southern Queensland. Farmers are in no hurry to sell barley off the header with the scarcity of grain supplies.
New crop barley is gradually finding its way to Southern Queensland feedlots with farmers holding out for $450/t on farm.
Harvest has also commenced in Western Australia and South Australia.
WA’s CBH has reported its first canola and barley deliveries last week. Viterra said they have taken the first wheat deliveries for the year near Port Pirie.
Harvest pace is expected to escalate this week with hot, dry weather forecast across the cropping regions in both states.