Follow-up rain critical for Queensland farmers

Follow-up rain critical for Queensland farmers

Grains
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Follow-up rainfall will be critical for the 2020 Queensland winter grain harvest.

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Patchy rain across southern Queensland and Central Highlands cropping areas in the past 10 days has come as a relief for grain farmers, but follow-up rainfall will be critical for the 2020 winter grain harvest.

Condamine received upwards of 50mm with 30-40mm around Macalister and Dalby. Rainfall totals dropped away to the west with Miles receiving 20mm and 16mm at Roma. Good rains were also received in the southern parts of Central Queensland with Springsure and Rolleston receiving 40-50mm while Emerald and Capella only received 10-15mm.

The late rain has germinated dry planted crops across the Darling Downs and Goondiwindi areas. Dry planted crops are bouncing out of the ground and some farmers planted additional wheat, barley and chickpeas on the rain.

Table 1: Queensland grain prices. Source: Lloyd George.

Table 1: Queensland grain prices. Source: Lloyd George.

Any rain is good news, but the heavier totals will make a meaningful difference for farmers. It will help to resurrect the season, but it was disappointing for those farmers who missed out.

Last week's forecast rain was a last chance for many farmers to get the moisture to shore-up patchy germinations or even seed crops before the planting window shuts.

Disappointing rains in some areas means that some farmers may not plant all the intended winter crop in 2020. A full planting in the western Downs and Central Queensland now looks unlikely, without a major weather change in the coming weeks.

Dry weather has also become a concern for WA grain farmers in 2020. It's been a below average start for the west where crops were planted at least two weeks later than normal and on minimal moisture. Widespread showers across the WA cropping regions have brought some relief but soil moisture levels are low, and more rain is needed.

United States wheat futures tumbled 4 to 5 per cent last week on seasonal pressure as the northern hemisphere winter wheat harvest gathers pace. Warm and mostly dry weather sped up harvest progress in the major southern HRW wheat states with the main Kansas harvest well under way. Harvest is just starting in Europe and the Black Sea.

New crop ASX east coast wheat futures for a January delivery fell $11 to $288 a tonne. Southern NSW, Victoria and SA new crop wheat prices fell $10 to $12 while weather concerns offered price support in Queensland and WA.

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