Chances of more wheat and barley planting in southern Queensland and northern NSW are looking slim with most farmers reluctant to plant after the middle of June.
Dry weather has been holding southern Queensland farmers from planting the remaining two-thirds of the intended winter cereal plantings. About a third of the intended southern Queensland wheat area was planted on opportunistic storms in April and May.
Farmers in some areas have already conceded they won't plant crops in 2019. In good seasons the Balonne region can produce a large proportion of the southern Queensland wheat crop, but the ongoing drought has worked against them this year. Growers around Thallon are saying they are unlikely to plant crops this year amid the lack of subsoil moisture.
Other areas have been more fortunate, having planted on the storm in April and May but farmers are keen to see follow-up rains.
Crops are up around Roma, Surat, Meandarra and south to Goondiwindi and Toobeah but farmers are looking for rain. Dry weather and warm temperatures are rapidly depleting soil moisture reserves. Light showers in the first week of May provided some top-up moisture but there has been no relief since.
The situation is more desperate through much of northern NSW, where cereal plantings have been more sporadic.
Australian grain prices moved sharply higher last week, supported by sharp gains in United States futures and expectations that the ongoing dry weather is likely to result in further reductions to the local crop outlook.
US wheat futures rallied by a further 5 per cent as key production states were pummelled by as much as 250mm of rain in the past week. US wheat futures have risen by more than 15pc in the past three weeks as yield and quality concerns build.
East Coast ASX wheat futures jumped by $20 to $338 a tonne last week having rallied by 13pc in the past two weeks. New crop stockfeed wheat prices into the Darling Downs have risen to $355 to $360/t.
The absence of general planting rain in WA is adding the market uncertainty. A large proportion of the southern Queensland feed grain supplies in 2018 have been sourced from WA. Less than a third of the wheat and barley crops in the west have been planted and time is running out.
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