Rain slowed the start of grain harvesting across Southern Queensland last week with the unsettled weather pattern limiting early progress.
Grain storage companies reported some limited activity, with quality testing and isolated deliveries in some of the westerly sites in southern Queensland. Early quality has been generally good with early samples of hard 2 and some APH.
Harvest activity is expected to accelerate this week, if the rain holds off. Last week’s rain isn’t expected to affect winter crop grain quality, with the heaviest falls occurring towards the east.
Last week’s rain will trigger a start to sorghum planting across the Downs. Most farmers say they have already received 60mm to 80mm for the month with more rain expected this week.
Most of the Darling Downs recorded 40mm to 60mm of rain last week in a series of showers and storms. The heaviest falls were recorded on Sunday and Monday where many areas received 30mm to 40mm.
Northern grain markets continued to soften with last week’s rain as buyers lowered price ideas. Feed barley bids tumbled by $17 to $317 delivered into the Darling Downs. Stockfeed wheat bids into the Downs were $10 lower at $330 while sorghum lost $5 to $270.
Traders reported limited activity at the lower prices.
General rain across eastern Australia weighed on east coast grain markets. NSW and Victorian new crop wheat prices eased by $10 to $15 a tonne while barley bids were close to unchanged.
ASX east coast wheat futures finished last week $18 lower at $263 following last week’s widespread rains.
Exporters are reporting that it’s difficult to sell Australian wheat into global markets. However, with forecasters predicting that Queensland and NSW will have the smallest winter grain harvest in a decade, the bulk of the crop is expected to be consumed domestically.
Extended rainfall outlooks are near normal for the next three months according to the latest National Climate Outlook issued by the Bureau of Meteorology. The Bureau said the tropical Pacific Ocean temperatures are likely to cool in the coming months, increasing the chance of a La Nina weather pattern developing.
United States wheat futures fell last week after the USDA raised its forecast for world wheat output once again.
The USDA raised its forecast for world wheat production for the 2017/18 marketing year by 6 million tonnes to 751mt. USDA raised its estimates for wheat harvests in the United States, Canada, Europe and Russia while cutting its estimate of the Australian crop. World wheat stocks were forecast to rise by 5mt to a record 268mt.