Scorching weekend temperatures across southern Queensland in recent days are taking a toll of sorghum crops and increasing the importance of rain in the coming weeks.
The mercury soared over the weekend with temperatures climbing into the high 30s and 40s before cool change and possible showers on Tuesday.
Sorghum crops benefited from the 10mm to 15mm of rain in late November but falls were well short of the soaking that farmers wanted. Sorghum is a hardly plant and crops are still holding on well, but visibly struggled with the weekend heat, and will be looking for another decent rain in the next fortnight.
Farmers remain optimistic they can achieve average to above average yields for the 2019 sorghum harvest, so long as they get some timely rain.
Southern Queensland feed buyers are also sweating on rain in the coming weeks to bolster sorghum crops in the hope of easing the current high grain prices.
Sorghum was $3-5 higher last week amid the lack of farmer selling with Downs markets now back to $365 delivered for March to April. Old crop sorghum remains scarce and is demanding big premiums to the new season prices.
Southern Queensland wheat values were steady last week. Stockfeed wheat was unchanged at $435 delivered into the Darling Downs while feed barley was down $4 at $404 delivered.
Grain prices in Melbourne and SA strengthened last week on slow farmer selling following price declines a week earlier. APW into Melbourne was $10 higher $430 a tonne with similar increases seen in the Adelaide zone.
Wheat harvesting in southern Queensland is mostly complete. GrainCorp reported the delivery of 3200 tonnes of grain into its Queensland grain storage network in the week ending November 25. Last week’s grain deliveries lifted the total Queensland 2018 winter crop to a meagre 93,000t.
The situation was a little better in NSW and Victoria, but grain deliveries remain sharply down on recent years as the impact of the drought is felt.
Harvest is also winding down in southern NSW but is still full steam ahead in Victoria. There were around 100,000t of grain into GrainCorp’s NSW storages in the past week to lift the total harvest delivered over 250,000t. GrainCorp reported around 120,000t of grain deliveries in Victoria in the past week.
News that US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi have agreed on a truce to their trade war is expected to be treated favourably by global grain markets. President Trump said he would hold off further tariff increases for 90 days so the two counties could engage in new trade negotiations. President Xi said China would agree to make substantial purchases of goods from the US.
Global grain and oilseed markets edged higher last week in anticipation of a possible deal between the two countries and are expected to continue to strengthen on the news of the breakthrough.
Direct impacts of any strengthening in global prices on the drought affected east coast grain markets world be indirect, but a firming in the WA grain markets would eventually be felt.