Flooding rains across the Darling Downs as the remnants of Tropical Cyclone Owen descended on southern Queensland have all but assure bumper sorghum yields.
Some areas out of Dalby recorded nearly 270mm of rain on Sunday night as storms swept across the Darling Downs. The heaviest of the rain was around Dalby, where the storm dumped a general 75mm to 150mm of rain in a couple of hours on Sunday night.
Flash flooding was reported in several areas with emergency support called in to help motorists who were swept off flood affected roads.
Although Dalby was the epicentre of the Sunday night storms, most of the Darling Downs recorded beneficial rains during the week. Areas west of Dalby and extending south to Pittsworth and Millmerran recorded soaking rain during the week.
While areas around Dalby are surrounds saw recorded 150mm to 200mm of rain for the week, the broader Darling Downs saw a general 50mm to 100mm over the past seven days. Rainfall totals tendered to taper away closer to Goondiwindi but most of the sorghum areas benefited from the falls.
Timing of last week’s rain was ideal. Sorghum crops across the Downs were looking for a drink before last week’s general rains but were yet to show any signs of moisture stress. Early planted sorghum crops were still looking good while the later planted crops were starting to struggle.
Traders expect farmers will plant more sorghum after last week’s rain.
Rain remains elusive across the Central Highlands. Clermont received valuable rain, but falls were lighter in other areas. Clermont recorded around 70mm for the week but Emerald and Springsure had less than 20mm.
Some early sorghum has been planted in Central Queensland but most of the intended crop is yet to be seeded. Farmers are looking for 75mm to 100mm in the coming weeks, so they can start planting in January.
Sorghum prices remained under pressure last week as traders waited to see if the promising forecasts would be realised, despite a firmer tone in wheat and barley. Sorghum bids into the Downs were $7 lower for the week at $350. Stockfeed wheat was $7 higher for the week at $437 delivered into the Downs while $5 higher at $405.
Farmers have been reluctant sellers of sorghum while the weather remained dry and the price remains at such a large discount to wheat.
Southern Queensland wheat values strengthened last week, following the WA market higher. APW wheat in WA jumped $15 a tonne last week with exporters reporting solid export demand for protein wheat by overseas buyers. Smaller gains were seen for the lower protein grades, with ASW finishing the week $7 to $8 higher.
Winter crop harvesting across eastern Australia has entered its final stages, with some of the southern-most farmers nearing competition. GrainCorp received around 260,000 tonnes of grain into its Victorian network in the past week to taking the state harvest deliveries above 750,000t.
Only 4000t of grain were delivered into GrainCorp’s Queensland storage facilities last week, lifting the total winter crop harvest deliveries above 100,000t.