Chances of a La Nina developing in late 2017 are increasing, but it’s likely to be short lived and weak, according to Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology.
In its latest climatic conditions update, the Bureau said there is a 50 per cent chance of a La Nina developing over the next couple of months, in line with the cooling in the tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures since late winter.
La Nina events typically bring above average rainfall to eastern Australia in the late spring and summer, but the Bureau downplayed the chances of this happing. They said the current Indian Ocean temperature patterns would typically push Australia’s climate into a drier phase, and concluded the impact of a La Nina is likely to be subdued.
Winter grain harvesting across Southern Queensland has been brief, with most farmers already putting the headers back into the sheds. Last week Graincorp said they had taken just over half a million tonnes of grain into its Queensland grain storage network for the 2017 harvest, with a sizable proportion of this expected to be chickpeas. Additional tonnages will have been delivered in the past week, but the final deliveries will be sharply smaller than last season’s massive crop.
As would be expected with the sharply smaller 2017 grain deliveries, yield and quality reports have been variable but mostly disappointing.
Chickpea yields have ranged from above average to well below average. The best of the crops was in the east, were farmers benefited from the late rain, while further west crops had already suffered irreversible yield losses when the rain finally arrived. However, quality suffered with the late rain with a lot of the crop struggling to reach the contracted quality, leaving farmers open to quality discounts.
Prices for chickpeas jumped to $30 to $820 delivered Brisbane last week for number one export quality.
Global pulse markets suffered a setback last week after the Indian government said they would impose a 50 per cent import tariff on field peas. While the bulk of Australia’s pulse exports to India are chickpeas, the news weighed on global pulse markets.
India also said they have doubled the tariff on imported wheat from 10 per cent to 20 per cent, in a move to support local farmers following a good domestic harvest. The move essentially shuts down India as a destination for Australian and Black Sea wheat.
New season sorghum prices pushed higher last week with reports that exporters are starting to uncover export interest from Chinese buyers.