It's go time for a bumper harvest
By Matt Wallis
Harvest is now well underway throughout Queensland and moving south quicker than expected with grain received into the bulk handling system at present as far south as Bogan Gate. The fast-paced nature of the harvest this early on is due to the most part of the looming La Nina and potential wet harvest that is forecast by the BoM. To date growers have thus far been pleased with both quality and yield across cereals with the jury still out on canola which is some time away from harvesting.
Receival sites have been consistently reporting grades of APW or better with the vast majority making Australian Prime Hard (APH) specifications. With high protein wheat in strong demand growers have been able to capture premium pricing at a time of achieving above average yields, a rare feat.
Recent rains through Southern New South Wales have been of much benefit to crops yet to turn ensuring the potential for grain size, weight and quality to be realized is given every chance. Most recent NDVI data through NSW continues to support the forecast potential of this crop, suggesting being on par with or slightly behind the bumper 2016 season.
Across the border and the finishing rains throughout Victoria have been deemed good to excellent at a time when the crop was in the balance. Although the sentiment is now strong throughout the state, grower selling from the Victorian farmer has been relatively dormant when compared to their NSW counterparts.
All in all, the stage looks set for a bumper harvest in the eastern states with all attention now turning to the weather forecasters for clarity on the harvest outlook.
Over to WA and the Grains Industry Association of Western Australia (GIWA) updated their WA forecast of wheat to 7.4mmt, barley 3.9mmt and canola 1.215mmt respectively. These figures are all down 8-12.5% from the latest update seen in September with prolonged dryness and hot temperatures cited as the main motive for the downgrades in production.
Looking abroad and we have seen global wheat futures experience another run over the past week up almost 40USc/Bu or $20 AUD/t. It has been well documented now the dryness throughout Russia as the farmer plants and Argentina in a critical grain filling stage however now across the US plains it is starting to turn dry which has encouraged the second round of fund buying. Furthermore, China remains in the headlines as major purchases of US Soybeans and Corn which is again supporting global markets.
As we head towards harvest in the Port Kembla zone it is important that growers take the time to understand the processes and functions of the bulk handlers this year. As always, turnaround time will be imperative to a successful harvest as will the opening hours. With the current strong pricing signals and above average production prospects it would be a fair assumption to make that growers will cash a percentage of their crop on delivery at the weighbridge. All GrainFlow sites will provide this platform to farmers for the 2020 harvest alongside the contactless grower delivery application.
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