Darling Downs farmers finally received some much-needed rain last week as storms lashed most of southern Queensland.
Falls were highly variable but most of the Darling Downs received 50mm to 75mm for the week, with some areas topping 100mm. Some of the best falls were seen in the southern Downs where there was a general 75mm.
Totals were generally lighter in the western cropping areas with Surat and St George receiving 25mm to 30mm for the week. Totals were heavier closer to Goondiwindi.
Unfortunately, limited rain fell across Central Queensland. Clermont and Emerald saw less than 10mm for the week. Falls were slightly better in the southern parts of CQ, but still well short of what farmers are looking for in readiness for winter crop planting.
Excessively hot and dry summer weather sapped all the remaining soil moisture reserves from paddocks, leaving farmers desperate for autumn rain to sure up chances of planting winter crops this year. The unseasonably hot, dry summer had a disastrous effect on summer crops, slashing sorghum yields, with many now expecting it will be one of the smallest in many years.
While the poor summer cropping season has been disappointing, most farmers have benefited from string of good seasons and are already focused on getting the winter crop planted.
Last week’s rainfall helped to build soil moisture levels ahead but more rain is needed ahead for the wheat, barley and chickpea planting.
Queensland grain prices were under pressure last week as farmers turned sellers with the rain. Darling Downs stockfeed wheat prices fell by $6 to $242 with F1 feed barley down $5 at $221. Sorghum slipped by $4 to $253, with farmers remaining reluctant sellers with the poor harvest.
Chickpea bids were also sharply lower last week, ending the week down $35 at $840 delivered Brisbane.
Weather permitting, farmers are expected to plant another big chickpea crop in 2017. New crop chickpea prices at $725 delivered still look favourable against white grains which is expected to encourage big planting. Farmers have enjoyed some big wins from chickpeas over the past two seasons and are hoping this trend will continue.
US wheat futures ended last week little changed, with solid export demand for the March to June providing underlying support. Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Egypt all bought large volumes last week, with a combined volume of upwards of 1.6 million tonnes.
Australian exporters are unlikely to see any of this, with most of the volume expected to go to Europe, the Black Sea and a modest amount to the United States.
Australian exporter are still busy shipping record large volumes of wheat into the likes of India, and have limited capacity to look at additional business. However, Australian wheat exports are expected to slow in the later part of the season, as Indian wheat imports slow and export competition from an expected big Russian harvest intensify.
Last week Indonesian flour mills said they secured their first new crop Russian wheat for a July shipment at significantly cheaper levels they are currently being offered from Australia.