Moisture in the bank and a positive rain outlook set up sowing for 2021

Rain leads to rethink of winter cropping plans

Cropping
As east coast farmers prepare for seeding with soil moisture in the bank and a positive outlook for April rain, expectations are firming for another good production year.

As east coast farmers prepare for seeding with soil moisture in the bank and a positive outlook for April rain, expectations are firming for another good production year.

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Grain growers with moisture in the bank are halfway towards having another good year.

Aa

Optimism is high among grain producers as they prepare for another winter crop sowing program on the back of plenty of subsoil moisture throughout New South Wales and parts of Victoria.

March was eventful for farmers in NSW, who have experienced floods and big rainfall events that stretched across most of the state's cropping belt.

This may have negatively impacted a few properties with summer sowing programs. But most growers are rejoicing and re-thinking their winter cropping plans.

Years of drought throughout NSW have forced many producers to focus on crops that are lower risk - namely cereals.

Given this year's great start, growers may now have the chance to plant a break crop.

This can be cashflow positive to their profit and loss situation, instead of having a fallow.

Pulses and canola crops spring to mind.

After last year's spectacular harvest, canola pricing has held up well locally and internationally.

Early signs indicate we could again be in for a high decile pricing year for canola in 2021-22.

Due to a lower supply from global oilseed exporters, and increased demand from Asia, the bullish picture may be here to stay for the short-term.

One more good rain throughout NSW in the post-planting period should be enough to get the canola crop up and going, with stored moisture below for winter production.

It is estimated total canola planting area is likely to increase this year, which may mean hay crop areas are significantly cut out of the program.

Recent news about several Australian hay exporter licenses not being renewed for the Chinese market has led to a reduction of contracts offered by the hay exporters.

Hay is typically a good break crop option and a weed management tool for farmers and, in the past few years, the industry has developed key export markets.

With the expected reduction in hay area for this winter, it is likely that these hectares will be converted to either wheat, pulse or canola crops.

Wheat pricing has been holding-up well on the back of strong demand.

The supply side of the equation has had its issues in the past 12 months, with Russian tax and dryness in key export nations.

But these potential problems seem to be sorting themselves out.

The Russian crop is looking promising as it heads out of hibernation, with rain falling in key growing areas.

If the Russian wheat crop keeps progressing along at its current rate, we could be heading into a bearish commodity pricing environment for Australian wheat.

Following the first harvest without China in the barley market, Australia is finding new demand.

But this does not seem to be enough at this stage of the year.

Australia remains competitive on pricing business into overseas customers, but the barley market is looking at an imposing carryout heading into 2021-22.

As we proceed into the important planting window for the Australian 2021-22 winter crop, the next eight weeks will be telling in shaping this year's grains harvest.

It is very positive that, with moisture in the bank - and fingers crossed for good April rain - we could see the nation's farmers halfway towards having another good year in agriculture.

Aa

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