Darling Downs grain prices continue to soften with the weaker tone in Western Australia.
Stockfeed wheat delivered into Darling Downs markets eased by $5 to $405 and feed barley lost $4 to $382. Sorghum prices were unchanged at $348 delivered into Downs markets.
Southern Queensland prices have been moving in parallel to WA markets for the past eight months as it became the major source of feed grain after drought slashed east coast supplies. Dependence on the massive grain transhipment programs is now expected to continue well into 2020 without a rapid turnaround in the weather amid the ongoing drought conditions through large areas of Queensland and NSW.
Wheat prices in WA have come under pressure in recent weeks as traders struggle with slow export sales into core south east Asian destinations amid continued strong competition from the Black Sea and Argentina. Global trade data shows that Argentina's wheat exports to Indonesia doubled to 1.4 million tonnes from last year's levels in the three months from December to February.
Recent patchy rain has prompted some early winter crop plantings in southern Queensland and NSW, but further soaking rains are needed to guarantee an average planting.
Farmers are anxious for rain to plant crops and hopefully cash-in on the drought induced strong prices. However, many farmers will be looking for a major rainfall event before committing to the expense of planting winter crops. The recent string of poor crops has left farmers wary about planting crops on limited soil moisture.
Extended weather outlooks are still pointing towards drier than normal conditions in parts of Australia's grain growing regions. The seasonal outlook for May to June is forecast to be drier than normal for Queensland and eastern Australia and wetter than normal in parts of WA, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
Temperatures are likely to be warmer than normal, it said. The bureau said there was a 70 per cent chance of an El Nino developing in the coming months.
Farmers in south eastern Australia are becoming anxious about the continued dry weather as we approach the Anzac Day, widely seen as the average date of the normal autumn break. Barley prices through parts of south eastern Australia have climbed by $10 to $15 in April on strong feeder demand while northern markets have fallen.
Global grain markets were little changed last week. The USDA released its April world supply and demand estimates report, which was broadly seen as slightly bearish wheat. The USDA raised world wheat ending stocks by 5mt to 276mt. United States wheat stocks were increased amid slower than expected exports.