Rain offers late help for Queensland farmers

Rain offers late help for Queensland farmers

Agribusiness
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Time is quickly running out for Queensland wheat and barley crops to benefit from late winter rainfall.

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Belated winter rainfall offered a late reprieve for Queensland grain farmers last week. It's a bittersweet rain for some where dry weather in June and July already robbed them of significant yield potential but the late rains will help farmers ensure they harvest crops.

Steady rain on Friday and Saturday resulted in a general 10mm to 15mm across the Darling Downs with up to 20mm to 25mm in the western cropping zones around Roma, Surat and St George.

Areas around Goondiwindi also received 20mm to 25mm. Mungindi, on the NSW border, received 28mm for the week.

The rain band extended into Central Queensland with Springsure, Tambo, Rolleston and Emerald receiving 12mm to 20mm for the week.

The importance of last week's rain will be amplified if more rain forecast this week is realised. Unsettled weather patterns will prevail across much of Australia in the coming week with another round of storms expected on the weekend which could seen another 5mm to 10mm, and hopefully more.

Time is quickly running out for Queensland wheat and barley crops to benefit from late winter rainfall. Although the nights remain brisk with the occasional frost, daytime temperatures are climbing into the mid to high 20s. Areas of the western Downs are likely to have temperatures hit 30 deg this week for the first time since April.

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

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

Australian grain markets tumbled last week after widespread rain across most states coupled with sharp declines in international markets.

Benchmark United States wheat futures plunged 6-7 per cent last week, the largest weekly decline for the year, on improving crop expectations in Russia, Canada as well as Australia. Black Sea wheat values also softened with the improving global supplies.

The USDA will release its monthly world supply and demand estimates report this week where it is expected to lift production estimates in key production regions around the world.

ASX east coast wheat futures for delivery in January 2020 fell $13 to $282 a tonne. New season's barley futures fell $15 to $218. Southern Queensland prices also fell.

Old crop supplies into southern Queensland remain tight with grain still being trucked up from as far away as Victoria. After a massive interstate shipment program from WA, SA and Victoria that has lasted for 30 months, the steady flow of ships has ceased as buyers wait for cheaper new crop grain.

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