Start your engines for the planting season
By Craig Ednie
22nd March, 2023
It feels like harvest has only just finished and yet preparations are well and truly underway for the upcoming season. The Australian Grand Prix is only weeks away, and well may we say, get ready to start your engines.
In addition to the usual activities growers have spent countless hours cleaning up the mess of last harvest, with paddocks left scarred by nasty bog holes and wheel ruts. I think it is fair to say that you weren’t having a go last harvest if you didn’t get bogged.
Amongst growers, there is a sense of nervous optimism; despite good subsoil moisture levels in most areas, there remains the lingering concern of an El Nino weather pattern emerging. El Nino could potentially have an impact on Australian crops as the event usually means that rainfall is reduced through Australia’s winter and spring, particularly across the eastern and northern parts of the country. Despite this, we did see some good rainfalls last week and some more forecasted to follow in the coming weeks.
With the seasonal outlook somewhat uncertain, there remains plenty of unanswered questions about growers’ planting programs. Canola was popular last year as markets soared and growers acted to capitalise on the top prices. Even in the event of a good break to the season, with prices much diminished from this time last year, it is safe to expect canola planting area will be down considerably.
Anyone watching the canola market will have witnessed a dramatic fall in values over the month of March, with futures prices plummeting to their weakest levels in over a year. While the losses may look overdone, the bottom remains to be seen.
As for wheat, the market is still relatively well supported with strong demand for feed grains. This week we also saw the long-awaited Black Sea grain corridor deal renewed, albeit with some uncertainty over how long it has been extended for.
So, there is a lot to occupy the minds of growers as the sowing season fast approaches and whilst little can be done to control the weather or geopolitical tensions, it feels like both are presenting as major factors again this year.
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