NSW and Queensland grain farmers can only be looking at the torrential northern rains and hoping a small percentage of the moisture pushes south into the drought stricken cropping areas.
It’s difficult to comprehend the volumes of rain northern Queensland has recorded in the past weeks.
Areas around Townsville have recorded 1.5 to more than 2.0 metres of rain in the past two weeks resulting in unprecedented flooding.
Northern Queensland cattle farmers have welcomes to monsoon rains. Inland northern Queensland has also seen their best rain in years with the Gulf and Channel Country receiving a widespread 100mm to 250mm.
But the divide between the tropical north and the southern grain production zones couldn’t be starker.
Northern Queensland has received record rainfall in the past weeks but none of the deluge has pushed into the countries grain production zones.
Sorghum farmers in Queensland and northern NSW are watching their crop go backwards, with some already writing off the season.
Sorghum farmers are desperate for a soaking rain to stabilise sorghum crops following a blisteringly hot and dry month.
Little to no rain fell in January compared to the longer-term average of 80mm while temperatures across southern Queensland and northern NSW while temperatures were two to four degrees Celsius hotter than normal.
Impacts of last year’s east coast drought are expected to keep local grain prices elevated until next year’s harvest is guaranteed.
Western Australia’s CBH is expecting that Queensland and NSW will be among its largest shipping destinations in the 2018/19 marketing year following last year’s drought.
CBH reported that about 650,000 tonnes of Western Australian grain have been shipped to Brisbane and NSW ports since the start of October and more than 1.1 million tonnes from when the program first kicked off in mid-2018.
CBH said the shipments are expected to continue through 2019 and envisage that total shipments of wheat and barley may exceed two million tonnes before its finished. Grain prices continued to soften last week.
Domestic buyers have extended coverage in recent weeks on the recent dip in prices.
Feed barley into northern NSW feedlots slipped by a further $5 a tonne to $395/t. Negative overtones and uncertainty over Chinese import demand continues to weigh on Australian barley values.
Western Australia’s barley crop was record large at 5.0 million tonnes, leaving traders unsure of where it will go without the return of Chinese buyers.
Traders are also cautious about the favourable crop outlook in Russia and Europe which could see a significant increase in global wheat supplies July forward, when the northern hemisphere winter wheat harvest commences.
Analysts are forecasting that Russia’s 2019 wheat harvest will be 10 million tonnes up on last year’s drought reduced crop.
Similarly, respected European analysts are forecasting a significantly larger wheat harvest in 2019 following last year’s drought which resulted in the smallest harvest in eight seasons.
The International Grains Council forecast 2019-20 world wheat production at 751 million tonnes, up from last year’s 737 million tonnes, largely on the back on a return to average yields.