Harvest Wrap up
By Alistair Murphy
1st February, 2023
The last tail wags of harvest is finally wrapping up, with only tidy up jobs left in parts of Victoria and South Australia. Weather up until recently has remained quite dry over the majority of the Queensland and New South Wales cropping belt, but this recent change has brought some nice rainfall with it which will assist in joining up topsoil moisture and also benefit some of the later sown summer crops.
International markets rebounded this week on the back of short covering and US Plains winter wheat concerns, retracing some of the losses we saw earlier in the month. Markets had been initially pricing drier weather in South America which quickly fell away once some positive forecasts hit the wires, combined with news of higher than expected volumes making its way out of the Black Sea grain corridor agreement.
Prospects for the upcoming sorghum crop is looking good, especially in Queensland where the crop is more advanced. In Northern New South Wales crop ratings are somewhat mixed but still positive. The combination of later sown crops and a dry January hasn’t provided the most ideal growing conditions, but we still expect a decent size crop produced in Northern New South Wales this year.
Heading into February growers are starting to look at their upcoming sowing programs for the 2023-24 season, and with a significant amount of subsoil moisture in the ground things are looking positive for a solid plant once again. Ideally we would like to see 25-50mm in early March to connect the moisture up and it should be game on once again.
Chickpeas are starting to make their way back in the rotation conversation, as the Desi 1 quality values have risen above the magic $500/mt del NNSW packer for spot. Though the recent rally appears to be Bangladesh & Pakistan destination targeted, in order for ongoing sustainability of these values and beyond we really need India there to buy given they are by far the biggest importer of Australian chickpea produce. There are still 2021 & 2022 season chickpeas being held on farm which has seen some growers take the opportunity to get something sold into these prompt markets.
Coming into last year’s sowing window we saw historically high canola pricing deciles buying some big percentages of growers cropping rotations. Values are lower now than this time so it is unlikely the same amount of area will go in the ground this season, though prices are still well above average on a historical basis which will keep Canola in the rotation conversation.
2022 barley acres were back last year due to lower comparative pricing against wheat and chickpeas. With that being said a lot of the barley grown in Northern New South Wales met malting spec, which is impressive given the amount of in crop rainfall we had. This was a great result for barley growers as there was an excellent premium at harvest time due to early harvest quality concerns. Darling Downs Feed barley values are close to lineball equivalent to SFW1 markets in the north, and with the close spread presently wouldn’t be surprised if we saw barley acres increase this year.
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