Timely weekend rain will boost the chances for an improved Queensland winter crop in what's shaping up to be another tough season.
Central Highland farmers enjoyed the best of the weekend rains, with 20mm to 25mm on Saturday and Sunday. The weekend rain will provide another boost to crops following an excellent start on the back of widespread heavy rains in March and April. It's perfect timing for the CQ cereal crops, where farmers are now looking at one of the best seasons in several years.
Falls were lighter in southern Queensland where crop prospects remain unclear as the prolonged drought threatens yet another harvest. Weekend showers were mostly confined to 3mm to 10mm. Western Downs farmers saw the best of the rain with Miles receiving 12mm with the odd farmer reporting isolated storms of 20mm. Falls tapered away to 3mm to 7mm in the central and eastern Downs and closer to Goondiwindi.
The weekend rain across the southern Queensland offers a brief reprieve to the warm, dry winter but more substantive rain is needed to ensure a reasonable harvest.
Australian grain prices rose sharply late last week as Western Australia received widespread rain across the major cropping regions. WA and east coast grain markets have rallied sharply in the past three weeks on fears that dry weather may see large areas of the WA cropping belt go unplanted in 2019.
Stockfeed wheat prices into the Downs jumped $40 in a fortnight. New season's wheat was also sharply high as buyers wonder where supplies would come from in the event of another poor season in Queensland and NSW. Stockfeed wheat bids for a January delivery were as slow as $335 in early May but rallied to over $400 early last week. New season's SFW tumbled $30 late last week to $370 delivered into the Darling Downs after the WA rain.
High grain prices continue to erode Australia's grain exports. Monthly government export data released last week showed that Australia shipped 831,000 tonnes of wheat in April down from 952,000t in April.
Even more concerning is the extent of Australia's decline in Indonesia, which is now the largest wheat importer in the world. Australia accounted for 70 per cent of Indonesia's wheat imports in the 2012/13 season but have fallen quickly since then as they use more Black Sea supplies. Australia shipped around 540,000t of wheat to Indonesia from July to April with the final marketing year shipments expected to account for less than 15pc of their total imports.
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This story first appeared on Queensland Country Life.