Significant increases to crop input prices hasn't slowed the efforts to plant this year's winter crop as almost the entire east coast has been gifted a well-timed and wide-spread autumn break.
From southern Queensland to southwest Victoria, growers are sowing into healthy moisture reserves with crop germination quickly following. After years of drought, it is heartening to see east coast farmers shaping up for potentially a third successive productive winter cropping season. Predictions for the La Nina weather pattern to continue into winter adds to confidence.
Canola has surpassed $1000 per tonne delivered upcountry. With ideal moisture through April, NSW growers alone could increase canola acreage by 10 to 20 per cent, according to some reports. Much of the growth is expected to be in northern NSW where rotations could allow substitution of chickpeas for canola. Gross margins for chickpeas aren't stacking up and while canola is deemed riskier with a dry finish, ground moisture is ample, and strong global oilseed demand is sending the message to increase acres.
A big canola plant does look likely, however there have been issues for growers to navigate. Canola seed availability has been a hot topic among resellers with the wet harvest downgrading much of last year's seed crop. As a supplier of canola seed for our specialty canola program reports of seed shortages and missed orders have been more common than usual. Despite last-minute crop rotation changes, AWB has accommodated growers with Hybrid canola seed for a significant 2022 program.
There has been much discussion about the impact on markets of the Black Sea conflict, however other market movers are beginning to emerge. Higher commodity prices usually encourage farmers domestically and internationally to increase acreage of the high-priced commodities and it's not only Australian farmers seeing high oilseed pricing. Farmers across the Americas have or are looking to increase acreage in soybeans and sunflowers, however, StatsCan reported last week that rapeseed acreage is potentially lower in Canada.
With the ongoing Black Sea conflict, energy markets are volatile in much of Europe. Germany appears to be struggling with finding alternatives to Russian energy supplies. There has been talk about changing the biofuels mandate, meaning less canola may find its way into energy market and thus loosening up the supply and demand.
Canola provided a highlight of the 2021/22 season for many NSW growers. The markets and mother nature are seemingly lining up to provide a season that could rival the last one.
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