Recent government trade data confirmed Australia's grain exports were operating at maximum capacity in February, as traders made the most of the big domestic crop and strong global demand situation.
Australia exported 2.8 million tonnes of wheat in February to edge out the previous highest monthly wheat exports of 2.76mt set in June last year. Combined national wheat, barley and canola exports reached 4.3mt, which also appears to be record large.
Grain logistics were operating at capacity in all states to achieve the massive monthly grain exports. Western Australia accounted for more than 1.1mt of Australia's wheat exports in February.
Strong monthly wheat exports from Queensland helped to contribute to the big February export total. Queensland shipped 318,000 tonnes of wheat in February which was easily the state's largest ever monthly wheat exports.
Grain exports are expected to slip in March as the impacts of the severe weather and flooding around Queensland and New South Wales are reflected in reduced movements.
Brisbane's grain logistics almost stopped for more than a week in early March due to the floods. Grain exports from Newcastle and Port Kembla were also severely restricted in a mix of massive ocean swells and rail outages after the torrential March downpours.
Nonetheless, the brisk start to the 2021-22 season's wheat exports has Australia on track for a record large marketing year export.
Australia has already shipped 10.6mt of wheat in the four months from October through to February. We are on track to ship upwards of 27mt of wheat in the 12 months through to September.
Last year's record of 24.0mt of wheat exports for the 2020-21 marketing year will be short-lived.
Local grain markets continue to firm on trader short covering, with farmers already well-sold on last year's winter crop. Stock feed wheat into the Downs is demanding $390 a tonne with barley up to $360.
Southern markets remain well bid with a scarcity of sellers with difficult truck and container logistics adding to the headaches for buyers.
The focus now firmly on the 2022-23 crop. It's been a good start so far with timely rains for Queensland, New South Wales, and Western Australia. New South Wales received widespread soaking rains across most cropping areas last week.
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