Showers freshen winter crops

Showers freshen winter crops

ANALYSIS
Agribusiness
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Optimism is building over the outlook for the Queensland winter crop.

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Optimism is building over the outlook for the Queensland winter crop.

Southern Queensland cropping areas received a general 10-15 millimetres last week with more forecast this week.

Soaking rainfall in March, which saturated the Maranoa and Darling Downs, set the platform for a big winter crop. Winter crop plantings are expected to be well up on last year with the favourable start and strong prices.

Farmers were relieved to see last week's rain, after a spell of warm, dry weather. Most are describing it as a above average start to the season, with good subsoil moisture reserves offering the knowledge there will be moisture reserves to finish crops in spring.

Medium term weather forecasts are also encouraging. The Bureau of Meteorology's extended outlook points to above average rainfall across inland Australia.

The ENSO ocean temperature models are currently neutral, although the bureau's climate outlook indicates a negative IOD developing in winter. More generally, above average Indian Ocean sea surface temperature patterns outside of the IOD region may also be providing more conducive conditions for rainfall across some parts of Australia.

Strong monthly wheat exports show that Australia is on track for near record exports in the 2020/21 season. Australia exported 2.49 million tonnes of wheat in April up from 2.3mt in March. This lifts the October to April wheat exports to 13.2mt, with some now saying the final 2020/21 total exports could exceed 23mt.

Local grain markets were steady to firmer, torn between an improving local weather outlook, which is bolstering next year's production estimates, and firmer US markets.

Stockfeed wheat was up $6 to $325 delivered into the Darling Downs while barley was steady at $295-300 a tonne. New crop bids $2-3 higher.

Global markets are becoming increasingly volatile as hot, dry weather across parts of the United States threatens yields in recently planted spring wheat and corn crops.

Scorching temperatures and arid weather forecasts pushed US markets solidly higher. Minneapolis wheat futures, which represents high protein spring wheat grown in Northern Plains along the Canadian border, surged 12 per cent higher last week.

US winter wheat futures, which is more reflective of global wheat prices, gained 4pc for the week.

Firm global markets and improving local weather bodes well for Australian grain farmers.

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