Feed grain update: Harvest winding up, growers in no rush to sell

Luke Walker, Robinson Grain Trading, Toowoomba, 10/12/2015


Harvesting chickpeas GRDC

Harvesting chickpeas. Image: GRDC

The wheat and barley harvest is coming to a close and is all but done in the northern States with only Victoria and South Australia still harvesting where about 70% has been completed.

Harvest in the north has been smooth running with excellent yields and quality.

Central NSW and further south have had some quality issues with mixed results on barley in the form of poor test weights and screenings.

Wheat quality has also been mixed with lower yields and grades harvested ranging from poor feed wheat quality to high quality milling grade wheat.

Weather conditions have also turned dry in central NSW. Growers are not eager to sell just yet until they receive planting rains that guarantee planting for next year. As a result we could see a waiting game until January or February before they look to market their grain.

As harvest draws to a close it is becoming clear that growers are not in a hurry to sell grain from on-farm storage and are happy to wait until 2016 before they need to commit to the market.

There is also no real pressure on lot feeders to buy as they feel they have time on their hands before they need to commit for next year, lots of grain in storage and on-farm and they are also unsure of next year’s cattle supply and what demand will be like from processors.

Although it does feel like buying interest is stronger than selling interest as this market slowly sneaks up and I guess the big question is when the grower becomes seller.

Chickpeas have been setting records this harvest and are all the rage, growers have been so focused on getting them harvested and to the market for export for shipment to India and have forgotten about their wheat and barley that’s in storage.

Prices for chickpeas have been mind blowing with prices currently trading around $830 delivered Downs.

Luke Walker

Luke Walker

The chickpea story is not over yet and prices remain strong for 2016-17 with prices trading at $790 delivered Downs. These prices will see more acres move to chickpeas away from wheat and barley worth keeping an eye on this at it progresses.

Sorghum is next cab off the rank and harvest will start late in January with the earlier planting it’s shaping up to be a big crop for next year with the crop forecasted to be around 1.7 million tonnes.

Central Queensland has not planted any sorghum yet although they have until February to plant. The Downs and Northern NSW Sorghum crop is looking in good shape and the crop is fairly advanced and will only need a couple more drinks. Demand for sorghum is still lacking with China not buying yet and US sorghum $20 under Australian sorghum, although there will be demand from China to buy Aussie sorghum for their wine or Baiju and they do like the quality of our sorghum.

So currently we are in a Mexican standoff with growers reluctant sellers and no real pressure so sell any time soon, although they have a sorghum crop coming and storage is full. Buyers on the other hand also are not feeling any pressure just yet although they don’t want to miss these lower prices – although they are uncertain on how 2016 will unfold in cattle markets.

Most eyes at the table are watching the Australian dollar and how it impacts export markets.

  • Prices quoted in this column are of an indicative nature only to illustrate trends and do not represent a definitive buy or sell price at a given point in time. For specific prices for your region contact the author at luke@robinsongrain.com.au or (07) 4659 0755 or twitter @lukergtgrain


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