Grain croppers continue harvesting as market awaits export signals

Riding out the calm after storms

Great harvesting conditions across most of the east coast are coinciding with uncertainty surrounding export demand.

Great harvesting conditions across most of the east coast are coinciding with uncertainty surrounding export demand.


Ideal harvest conditions for much of NSW have coincided with uncertainty in export markets.


It has been a quieter week in grain circles, as growers focus their efforts more on crop harvesting than on marketing in the wake of recent price corrections.

The headers continue their march south, advancing into central New South Wales districts.

There remain only a handful of late crops to be harvested north of the border, while most growers in northern NSW are in the throes of mopping-up the last of their pulses and wheat. Barley has been off for some time now.

During the past couple of weeks, I have had the good fortune to spend time travelling from Dalby to Thallon; Boomi to Beanbri; Goondiwindi to Gunnedah; Coonabarabran to Walgett - and many places in between.

Almost all growers I spoke to were happy to report strong production and better than expected grain quality.

It was a fantastic sight to see the long-dormant receival depots bulging at the seams, and sample stand line-ups back out onto the bitumen - which is generally thought to be a good problem to have.

The near ideal harvest conditions for the east coast have, however, coincided with uncertainty of export demand.

The details at this stage remain unqualified, but these concerns have been the catalyst for a strong correction in the wheat market.

In comparison, barley values have been resolute.

It must be said that the weather component of the correction had been telegraphed for some weeks, with the weight of the northern and central NSW crop expected to be felt by the market at some stage.

When the header yield monitors in north western districts started to regularly report figures more akin with irrigated crops than dryland, it was more a question of when - not if - the market would react without a very solid export outlook.

Those with earlier sown crops of barley and wheat through southern Queensland and northern NSW have been actively engaged through late September and all of October.

They have latched hold of early demand and built good marketing averages from which to hang the remainder of their sales programs through quarters two and three.

With immediate cashflow requirements now satisfied, the focus for those in summer cropping regions now shifts to the outcome of the long-awaited summer break.

The NSW grower is now concentrating efforts on delivered markets, as export demand into alternative origins continues to develop.

Whether the recent values will be able to be achieved again will remain to be seen.

China's supposed non-participation in the near-term and the size of the east coast crop have been digested by the market - with values expected to be stable at current levels for some time.

Weather is again the primary concern for summer croppers.

While the northerners are genuinely delighted, their southern counterparts are enjoying the rewards that numerous years of forced fallow are bringing.

The required rainfall for corn, cotton, mung beans and sorghum continues to increase as the mercury hits 40°C.


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