Buyers returned in the northern grain markets last week as the influence of the October rain fades and post rain farmer selling dries up.
Sorghum values rallied in the past week as scorching temperatures descend on southern Queensland. Southern Queensland farmers are part way through planting sorghum crops after good October rain, but more rain is needed if all the intended crop is going to be seeded.
Temperatures will climb into the high 30s across the Darling Downs before they ease in the later stages of the week. Daytime temperatures for Dalby, Roma and Goondiwindi will be 8-9 degrees above average for this time of the year which will be an early test for recently planted sorghum crops.
General October rain of 80mm to upwards of 150mm has provided enough moisture to start summer crop plantings, where sorghum has been a popular choice. Cotton will also be popular for Downs dryland farmers that have received the heavier rains with values still around $600 a bale.
Sorghum values climbed to $425 delivered into the Darling Downs in late October but plummeted to $350 after the widespread soaking rains amid expectations of a massive crop. There was some limited farmer selling at the lower levels but has since ceased.
Bids rallied to $364 delivered Downs markets early this week as doubts grow over the early predictions of a 2 million tonne plus national sorghum harvest. Soils have dried out quickly after the rain and more is needed to complete planting.
Wheat and barley values have firmed as buyers return after the October rain, aided by the strengthening sorghum prices. Stockfeed wheat into the Downs was $5 higher at $440 while feed barley was $4 higher at $435.
A severely drought-reduced wheat and barley harvest is advancing across southern Queensland. Traders are saying that close to a quarter of the wheat crop in south western Queensland and the Darling Downs has already been cut.
Most of the crop is being sold directly off the farm with limited tonnage going into the stage and handling network. GrainCorp had only received 21,000 tonnes of grain into its storages compared to more than half a million tonnes at the same time last year.
Grain harvesting is under way in other states. The pattern of small grain deliveries is expected to continue in NSW and Victoria, where crops have been devastated by the drought.
Western Australia’s harvest is off to a good start. CBH has received close to 400,000 tonnes of grain as at late October with reports of record yields in the Geraldton zone.
Australia exported 865,000 tonnes of wheat in September, according to the ABS monthly shipping statistics. Slowing grain exports from the east coast and SA resulted in a rapid slow-down in the export pace in August and September with just 1.7mt of wheat shipped in the last two months of the 2017/18 marketing year. Australia’s final 2017/18 wheat exports came a decade low of 13.8mt.