Southern Queensland sorghum prices have jumped to seasonal highs as buyers scramble source sufficient number one quality.
The hot, dry summer took a heavy toll on sorghum crop, slashing yields and downgrading quality. The total Queensland sorghum crop is expected to come in well under one million tonnes, making it the smallest harvest in about 20 years.
The harsh season has also resulted in a large proportion of the crop being downgraded to sorghum 2 grade because of the small seeds. Many expect that as much as half of this year’s Southern Queensland sorghum crop will be downgraded because of small seeds.
The lack of number one grade export standard sorghum is putting upward pressure on prices as traders clamber to source supplies to cover overseas sales. Sorghum prices jumped by $10 a tonne last week to $267 Brisbane, which is close the seasonal highs set in March as it became apparent the crop would be sharply lower than initially forecast.
Darling Downs sorghum prices were $7 higher at $255. The quality driven scramble has pushed number one grade sorghum prices well above wheat values. Stockfeed wheat bids were $4 higher last week at $242 delivered Darling Downs. However, most stockfeed users of sorghum are happy taking the number two grade sorghum at a $30 discount.
Chickpea prices continued to edge higher last week. Old crop chickpeas into Brisbane were $20 higher at $1090 delivered.
Southern Queensland weather forecasts remain absent of rain. Last week’s weather was void of rain with temperatures climbing into the mid to high 20s during the day. Farmers are waiting for rain to plant wheat and chickpea crops. Sub-soil moisture levels are good but rain is needed to wet the surface.
Forecasts offer little chance of rain in the next 10 days for eastern Australia.
Much of Victoria and South Australia received general rain last week which will trigger a general start to winter crop planting. The rain failed to push into NSW where most farmers are still waiting for a seasonal break.
Global wheat markets tumbled last week. Benchmark United States wheat futures fell by 5 per cent and are again approaching 10-year lows. Futures tumbled on forecasts of more rain this week for the Hard Red Winter wheat crop which is in the middle of pollination.
US wheat is finding solid export demand at current prices.
However, global weather conditions are less favourable in Europe, where farmers are holding out for rain. France has seen little to no rain in April and will need rain in the next two weeks if they are to avoid yield losses.