Northern crops on edge after dry June

Northern crops on edge after dry June

Grains
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Southern Queensland and northern NSW winter crops have deteriorated over the past four weeks after limited rain in June.

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Crop outlooks for the northern cropping zones are looking uncertain after little to no rainfall in the past month and grain markets remain firm.

Southern Queensland and northern NSW winter crops have deteriorated over the past four weeks after limited rain in June and limited subsoil moisture to draw on. It was already a precarious outlook for northern cereal farmers after a patchy start, where some western Downs farmers sporadically planted crops on opportunistic storm rains in the hope of follow-up falls. That rainfall hasn't occurred.

The western Downs received 5mm to 15mm of rain in June which has kept crops alive but soaking rains are needed in the coming weeks to ensure these crops are harvested. The eastern Downs received 25mm to 30mm of June rainfall and many farmers will hold over to plant summer crops instead of wheat and barley.

Table 1: Queensland grain prices. Source: Lloyd George

Table 1: Queensland grain prices. Source: Lloyd George

Prospects for the Central Queensland winter crops remain favourable. CQ winter crops were planted into good moistures and have received timely follow-up rainfall. Most areas of CQ received a further 25mm to 30mm of rain in June which leaves farmers on track for average to above average wheat yields.

Central Queensland wheat is likely to be trucked south into southern Queensland feedlots as soon as the harvest starts to fill the supply void left by the ongoing drought across the Downs and northern NSW. Central Queensland wheat harvest is expected to kick off in late September or early October.

Old crop wheat prices into the Darling Downs remain firm at $410-415 with new crop up $5 to $390-395.

Despite the ongoing dry weather in Queensland and much of NSW, Western Australia received more soaking rains last week, which means that most of the WA cropping area has received upwards of 80mm for June.

SA, Vic and southern NeSW also received beneficial rains on the weekend. South-eastern Australia is off to a decent start to the season after good rain in May and June.

United States wheat and corn markets tumbled late last week after the USDA planting survey revealed farmers were able to seed more corn than expected, despite the excessively wet spring. Australian grain prices are expected to start the week on a softer tone as traders factor in Friday's 4-5pc decline in US markets.

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