Sorghum is the latest crop to feel the wrath of the hot, dry weather that has engulfed most of the NSW cropping areas for the past 12 months.
Some parts of the Liverpool Plains have benefited from improved rainfall in November and December.
But the rains have been patchy, and most areas have struggled to get sufficient moisture take the gamble on planting sorghum.
Where crops have been planted, many crops have suffered from the lack of moisture amid the absence of a soaking rains needed to recoup the rainfall deficit’s incurred over the past 18 months.
ABARES forecast the NSW 2018-19 sorghum crop at 540,000 tonnes in its December crop report up from 430,000t last year.
Sorghum plantings were projected to increase by 20 per cent over last year’s levels to 180,000 hectares, which now seems unlikely given the continued dry weather.
Sorghum crops around Quirindi in the Liverpool Plains are in decent shape but crops are struggling around Gunnedah and Mullaley.
Some traders are saying the 2018-19 sorghum crop won’t be any bigger than last year’s harvest without widespread soaking rain across northern NSW in the next fortnight.
It’s a mixed outlook for the state’s sorghum growers.
Sorghum crops around Quirindi in the Liverpool Plains are in decent shape but crops are struggling around Gunnedah and Mullaley. Similarly, many crops around Narrabri and Moree weren’t planted due to the lack of moisture.
Prospects for the southern Queensland sorghum harvest are better. Good December rain has bolstered prospects for a good southern Queensland crop.
Significant areas of the Darling Downs benefited from upwards of 100 millimetres of rain in December which will assure early planted sorghum crops of average to above average yields.
Dalby, Jandowae, MacAlister, Condamine and Miles all benefited from above average December rainfall.
Northern grain markets kicked in the first week on January as weather concerns over the Central Queensland and NSW sorghum crops build and traders step up efforts to cover in against January positions.
Darling Downs sorghum was up $17/t to $360/t delivered for a January/February delivery.
This is up from the pre-Christmas levels of $345/t following the early December rain.
Brisbane sorghum was bid at $370/t delivered.
Northern wheat prices also surged higher last week. Stockfeed wheat bids jumped $18/t to $463/t delivered Darling Downs.
Northern grain prices have maintained their big premiums over other markets with feed grain buyers still focused on the massive grain shortages following the pitiful 2018 winter grain harvest.
Delivered Darling Downs stockfeed wheat and feed barley reflect a $110/t premium to the current Kwinana Australian Standard White wheat and F1 feed barley prices.
GrainCorp’s grain deliveries from the 2018 harvest offer a sharp reminder of where the rain fell as well are the areas that missed out.
Victoria’s was GrainCorp’s single largest grain receival state with 1.3 million tonnes of grain deliveries, but still less than half of the previous season’s grain intake.
NSW grain deliveries were little over 600,000 tonnes, less than a third of 2017.
Little over 100,000t of grain was delivered into GrainCorp’s Queensland facilities during the harvest.