Insights November 2021
Insights November 2021
- Wheat quality is of increasing concern as harvest gains pace but is frustrated by rain delays.
- Prices are coming under downwards pressure from increased selling, but declines are checked by strong export demand.
Harvest is proving to be a stop-start affair as weather continues to cause delays. Queensland harvest is around 75 per cent complete but has faced delays over the past week. Progress in Western Australia is gathering pace with over one million tonnes received. Harvest is in the very early stages in Victoria and South Australia. South Australia and Victoria experienced severe weather in late October. The extent of damage hail and heavy winds brought to crops is still being assessed but has downgraded production in some areas.
All eyes are on quality as too much rainfall when crops are ripe can have a severe impact. Most wheat received in Queensland has been high quality milling grade. But protein levels in northern New South Wales have been lower and a wider range of grades is being received. Western Australian receivals are of lower quality APW and ASW grades to date. This is not unexpected as the majority of grain harvested so far is from areas affected by frost or lack of rainfall.
Export demand for Australian grain is evidenced by lack of available shipping slots. Western Australian ports are booked out for the entire season. South Australia's major ports don't have available capacity until June 2022 at the earliest. The earliest New South Wales and Victorian ports have capacity of note is May. Global agricultural reporting agency AgriCensus advises Russian wheat exports are down fourteen per cent year-on-year. This is a contributing factor to strong demand for Australian wheat.
Barley prices in Queensland have lost around $20 per tonne as harvest gained pace. Wheat prices have also come under some pressure as grower selling increased. But offshore demand and a slowdown in grower selling is holding prices firm. Current wheat prices range from $330 to $380 per tonne depending on state are around 12 per cent up on this time last year.
Grain and oilseed prices will continue to soften as more crop becomes available. Buyers are holding off on purchases in anticipation of the large crop driving prices down. However, a heavy shipping program and strong export demand means they will have to increase purchasing before too long. This will see wheat and barley prices stay above average, and up on last year. Concerns around wheat quality will see high protein wheat command significant premiums over lower grades. Canola prices will remain at levels not seen before this year.
Sources: Profarmer Australia