Grain supplies tighten as Qld farmers look for rain

Grain supplies tighten as Qld farmers look for rain

Agribusiness
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Strong domestic demand is withering away Australia's old crop grain supplies.

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Robust domestic grain demand is withering away Australia's old crop grain supplies. And with the old crop grain supplies close to exhausted, buyers are counting down the weeks until the new crop harvest will start.

Recently introduced grain stocks reporting by bulk handlers Viterra and CBH shows that SA grain stocks are already scraping the bottom of the bin. After two consecutive years of drought, Australia's two largest bulk handling companies agreed to release grain stocks information to help customers and end users manage their ongoing grain supply requirements.

Viterra reported that total wheat stocks held by all owners in their SA grain storage network at July 1 were 318,805 tonnes with barley stocks at 381,761t. At the current usage rates, which includes ongoing domestic demand and sporadic exports, SA wheat and barley is expected to run out in the next month or so.

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

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

Tight SA barley supplies has seen more barley being drawn up from northern Victoria into the Darling Downs.

Grain supplies in WA were slightly more comfortable. CBH reports wheat stocks in its storage network at July 1 were 1.3 million tonnes and 828,105t of barley.

Understandably, Australian grain exports have slowed with the tightening supplies. Australia exported 766,300t of wheat in May down from 864,600t in April. WA accounted for 530,000t of the May wheat exports with 136,000t from SA.

Australian barley exports in May were sharply lower as the China import tariffs bite. Barley exports in May fell to 269,000t, down from 680,000t in April.

Domestic feed grain demand in Australia has slowed considerably with the slowing in farmer feeding in NSW and the downturn in feedlot numbers with the stronger feeder cattle prices. Traders are reporting that domestic feed grain demand is yet to return to pre-COVID levels.

Queensland grain farmers are anxious for more rain for ailing winter crops. Yield potential is declining in most areas with the dry weather. Wheat crops in the northern parts of Central Queensland are running out of moisture and will struggle without another decent rain event in the coming weeks.

Tight supplies and limited selling are keeping the old crop Queensland grain prices supported. Old crop barley into the Downs was steady at $345 delivered while new crop barley was steady at $265. New crop barley harvest in the north is expected to start in late September.

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