Tractors will be working around the clock this week with farmers planting sorghum after soaking rain over the past week.
Dalby recorded some best falls with around 100mm of rain over the past seven days. Areas north west of Dalby, including Jandowae, Macalister and Warra saw 75mm to 90mm for the week. Chinchilla received 60mm but falls tapered off further to the west with Roma and Surat measuring 40mm.
Condamine and Meandarra saw 45mm to 50mm which will benefit earlier planted sorghum crops that were desperate for rain.
Rainfall amounts were lighter to the east of Dalby and south. Oakey measured 30mm for the week with similar falls through the southern Downs. Totals were also lighter towards Goondiwindi with Southwood and Tallwood also around 30mm of less.
NSW rainfall was viewed as disappointing with most areas not receiving enough to trigger a sorghum planting. Moree and Narrabri received 25mm to 30mm of rain while the Liverpool Plains only saw 15-20mm for the week.
Farmers are keen to plant sorghum after the poor winter crop season. Seed retailers are already reporting limited supplies, particularly for forage sorghum. Limited plantings of wheat, barley and chickpeas has left large areas of cropping land available for sorghum.
Steadily soaking rain over the weekend was ideal as there was no runoff, with all the moisture penetrating the parched soils. Before the rain farmers were saying they needed at least 75mm of rain to plant sorghum. These boundaries are set to be tested now that it’s rained with a lot of crop is likely to go in areas that have seen upwards of 50mm.
Sorghum prices were under pressure last week as the rain started to fall across the Darling Downs. Sorghum bids into the Downs have eased to around $370 down from as high as $415 in August. Nonetheless, sorghum prices of more than $350 a tonne on farm will make for some good returns so long as there is rain to finish the crop.
Wheat values into the Downs also softened with last week’s rain. Stockfeed wheat into the Downs was $448 down from $460 a week earlier. Wheat values are expected to remain well supported because of the modest harvest in southern Queensland and NSW, with most of the supplies having to be shipped across from WA.
The USDA released its October world supply and demand report last week. USDA started to pull back its lofty estimates from Australia’s grain harvest after the east coast drought. Australia’s wheat production was lowered by 1.5 million tonnes to 18.5mt with further reductions expected in the coming months. USDA cut Australia’s wheat exports by 1mt to 13mt, which would be the smallest in a decade, if realised.
Questions also remain over the size of the Canadian and Argentine wheat crops where weather is also jeopardising yields. Harvest delays continued in Canada’s western provinces due to snow and wet weather whereas dry weather has private forecasters cutting crop forecasts in Argentina.
A significant tightening in major exporter wheat supplies is expected to keep world prices well supported over the next six months.