Eyes on weather forecasts, and market opportunities
By James Massina
26th April, 2023
As we move past another Anzac Day on the calendar, sowing across the state is at various levels of completion. Many areas are sowing into good moisture whilst there is a large section of the cropping belt where the moisture is some distance from the surface. As the tail of the tropical cyclone that passed through the northern and western part of the country fades, it produced some very timely and well received rainfall for parts of South Australia, Victoria and southern New South Wales over the past week or two. These parts as well as a large part of Western Australia have seen solid rainfall for April which has seen planting get underway in reasonable fashion. Unfortunately, parts of northern, north-western New South Wales and Queensland have largely missed out. Whilst this has been handy for the summer croppers trying to get those crops off, some meaningful rainfall is required to get the 2023 winter crop in the ground. The Bureau of Meteorology is still forecasting that an El Nino will begin to take effect in June or July and what’s more worrying is the strength of this weather pattern seems to continue to grow. Having said that, April is often referred to as the silly season for weather forecasting. Let’s hope so.
For those with sorghum crops to harvest, the weather has generally been favourable, but for the Liverpool Plains perhaps which could use some more dry, warm days to make a real dent in that harvest. Whilst the market has softened over the last week or so, as the bid from China has reportedly gone missing in favour of imported corn and barley, sorghum remains a premium to other grains in most areas encouraging growers to sell once the quality and quantity is known. Demand from the domestic consumer also nothing to write home about with sorghum’s inclusion to the ration at the minimum desired due to its relative value.
In white grains, the big news recently is that regarding barley to China and for the time being, its steady as she goes for that market until there is more clarity to what the recent announcements mean. The export market generally has been flat to lower and domestically, barley is struggling to find friends with its relative value to wheat.
Canola is where most of the price action has been of late with that market trading a wide range with daily swings of $30/mt not uncommon over the last fortnight. The volatility has largely been driven by debate in Europe as to whether some countries in that region will allow Ukrainian seed in. But as is the case when trading headlines, big up days were quickly followed by a sell off when the chatter subsided. This volatility has provided many with the opportunity to price out some old crop they were carrying, and also generated some engagement on new crop. Fingers crossed the weather remains favourable and more opportunities present to take advantage of some new crop pricing.
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