Sowing the focus
By Craig Ednie
16th May, 2023
As Growers are deep into their winter crop sowing programs and within a few weeks, they’ll have the finish line in sight.
In most parts we’re seeing topsoils on the dry side, with the majority of the cropping world hoping the significant moisture at depth will be joined up with topsoil moisture soon.
On the flipside, in southern New South Wales, it’s not uncommon to hear stories of growers getting bogged due to paddocks still being too wet. It’s fair to say you couldn’t be a farmer if farming was easy…the show must go on!
Earlier sown canola has started to germinate, although many growers have been coming to grips with slugs, mice and even rats. This has meant baiting operations are in full swing in these paddocks.
The Bureau is still predicting that an El Niño will potentially take effect in June or July, leading to some nervousness around rainfall outlooks. Growers certainly have this in their minds as they plant this year’s crop. Late changes to the rotation as a result of dry topsoil has seen canola hectares drop in some of the drier areas on the east coast.
In barley, the news that China is considering the easing of import tariffs on Australian barley has provided optimism that this could lead to the re-opening of what has been in the past Australia’s key barley destination.
Wheat on the other hand has been mostly continuing to track sideways apart from recently when Russia shot down a drone over the Kremlin, prompting a spike in the market.
The movement of grain through the Black Sea will continue to dominate grain headlines with Russia remaining steadfast in its ongoing commitment to the grain corridor agreement. That agreement allows for the safe movement of grain through the Ukrainian and Black Sea ports. Only time is going to tell how much longer for though.
Canola is a whole other story, with markets continuing to prove extremely volatile. Early last week prices came off hard on the back of the Swedish government making some shock cuts to its biofuel mandate, from 30.5% to 6% effective from January 2024. Unfortunately, this sets a very bearish picture for the European Union biofuels and rapeseed oil demand.
For now, growers seem focused on finishing sowing programs whilst markets do their thing. If one thing is certain in grain markets ... every year presents its own unique challenges and this one will inevitably keep us all on our toes.
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