Warm, dry weather over the past week allowed farmers to make large strides into the 2016 grain harvest last week.
Daily temperatures in the low to mid 30s was ideal for harvesting and this was evident in the large grain deliveries. GrainCorp received around 500,000 tonnes of grain into its Queensland storage network in the in the week to November 21.
Total Queensland grain deliveries of around 1.4 million tonnes have already exceeded the 1.2 million tonnes with about 30 per cent of the southern Queensland crop harvest still to be completed.
Farmers continue to be surprised at how well the crops are coming in. Wheat yields in excess of 4 tonnes a hectare is widespread, with some farmers reporting yields well above 5 tonnes a hectare.
Huge crops are adding to strain on harvest logistics, but so far it’s all gone relatively smoothly. The delayed start to the 2016 harvest, which has served to contract the harvest into a narrower window, has added to the logistical strains.
Large volumes of chickpeas are being delivered into the bulk handling system southern Queensland, with the central Queensland harvest now close to finished.
Last week Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said it expected the recent trend of warmer and dryer weather to prevail through the December to February period. The Bureau said December should be drier than normal with a 70 to 80 per cent chance of below average rainfall through eastern Australia.
This bodes well for the winter crop grain harvesting but is less than ideal for recently planted sorghum crops that are looking for rain.
The Darling Downs has been mostly void of any meaningful rainfall in during November. Farmers are looking for some storm rain to help establish young sorghum crops.
Isolated storms dumped 47mm of rain in Dalby on Monday but it was a narrow storm band, so few farmers saw the benefit. Some areas around Dalby reported as much as 70mm. Nearby Oakey only received 10mm from the same storm.
Storms are forecast to continue this week through Queensland and NSW.
Chickpea prices recovered last week after sharp declines a week earlier. Exporter bids for chickpeas into Brisbane were $70 higher at $790, after tumbling by $140 a tonne a week earlier. Despite last week’s modest rally, chickpeas prices have tumbled by 15 per cent in the past four weeks, and are significantly off the season highs of more than $1000 a tonne.
Sorghum prices were solidly higher again last week on the back of recent export sales into China. Sorghum prices jumped by $15 to $233 Brisbane, with similar gains seen into Newcastle.
Darling Downs container packers are also showing strong interest for sorghum at $230 delivered.
Strength in sorghum prices has added a firmer tone to all of the northern delivered feed grain markets. Stockfeed wheat prices into the Darling Downs were $13 higher last week at $223. Feed barley was $6 higher at $195 delivered into Darling Downs markets.
APH2 wheat prices were also solidly higher last week, gaining $10 to $262 Brisbane.