Some Darling Downs grain farmers are on track to record the first month of above average rainfall in five months after good weekend falls. The weekend rain comes on top of some light showers recorded in the previous week, all of which is bolstering the prospects for winter crop yields.
The best of the weekend rain was through the northern Darling Downs, extending into the central Downs. Rainfall totals were generally lower in the west and south. Jandowae, Macalister, Dalby, Oakey and Jondaryan registered 15mm to 20mm in general rain on Sunday. This followed the light showers of 5mm to 10mm in the previous week.
Further west, Miles, Roma and Surat received 10mm to 15mm but fell away to 2mm to 5mm closer to St George. Rainfall totals were generally lighter around Goondiwindi. Rainfall totals also tapered away in the central to southern Darling Downs, with Pittsworth and Warwick recording 4mm to 8mm.
As is always the case in low rainfall years, it’s the small and timely rainfalls that make the difference between harvesting a reasonable crop.
July rainfall totals across Southern Queensland range between 15mm to 30mm, which will see some farmers register the first above average monthly rainfall since soaking in March following ex Tropical Cyclone Debbie.
Farmers west of Goondiwindi continue to struggle with the dry season. Some areas were left unplanted with the lack of timely rain. Crops that were seeded have either struggled to emerge given the limited moisture at planting time or are on their last legs given the limited follow up rainfall.
Grain prices continued to strengthen in the early part of last week before steadying late in the week. Stockfeed wheat quotes jumped by $15 to $320 delivered Downs markets with reports of trades occurring around $350. Feed barley into the Darling Downs gained $11 to $310 delivered.
Grain buyers ignored the sharp selloff in United States wheat futures last week, after the USDA released what was viewed as a bearish monthly supply and demand report. US wheat futures tumbled by 4 to 5 per cent last week and the Australian dollar jumped by close to 3pc.
But grain buyers were focused on the deteriorating prospects for Australia’s 2017 winter grains crop, amid growing concerns demand intensive Darling Downs will struggle to attract the volume of grain required for the feedlots and other intensive livestock needs.
Internationally, the USDA cut its forecast for Australia’s 2017 wheat crop to 23.5 million tonnes, down from last years’ record large 35mt harvest. But many see this as optimistic, as farmers in large areas of Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland struggle with dry weather.
Elsewhere, the USDA raised its forecast for Russia’s 2017/18 wheat harvest by 3mt to 72mt, now just shy of last year’s record large harvest. World wheat stocks for the 2017/18 season were trimmed to 260mt, slightly up on last year’s record large levels.
Despite last week’s washout in United States grain futures, markets remain on edge over the hot, dry weather conditions that have been sitting over the Midwest as corn and soybean crops enter the critical pollination and flowing stages.