Nutrition & Animal Health

Feedgrain Focus: Prices drop as south’s season gains ground

Liz Wells June 24, 2024

Spraying barley at Croppa Creek in far northern NSW. Photo: FarmSimple by CroppaCo

SOFTENING world values, southern rain, and the impending end of free warehousing at GrainCorp have all pushed more grain on to the market last week.

Domestic consumers have been ready buyers, with some making big moves on new-crop coverage by booking volume from the trade.

Rain in Victoria and South Australia will be enough to get ungerminated crops out of the ground, they registrations were mostly low, and follow-up rain will be needed before winter is out.

Prompt Jun 13 New crop Jun 13
Barley Downs $390 $408 $360 nq
ASW wheat Downs $390 $410 $370 nq
Sorghum Downs $355 $355 $335 nq
Barley Melbourne $340 $358 $340 nq
ASW wheat Melbourne $370 $375 $375 Nq

Table 1: Indicative prices in Australian dollars per tonne.

North advances coverage

A consolidating season for northern growers has seen trade selling pick up on new crop, with some consumers now up to half covered for their January-March 2025 requirements.

However, grower selling in new-crop positions remains thin amid the recent softening of values.

In current crop, activity has died off as the financial year moves into its last fortnight.

“With the end of the financial year, growers want everything finalised by middle of the month, and contracts done by June 15, so it’s gotten very quiet,” one trader said.

Sorghum for bulk export is being accumulated in Toowoomba and Brisbane, and domestic consumers are mostly covered into the latter months of the year.

Bids for new-crop sorghum for March 2025 are starting to emerge, but have not yet translated to any volume of note.

Current-crop sorghum is still trading, and a cold and dry week has seen some growers finish their rain-delayed harvest.

“Straight Sorghum 1 is easy to sell, but if there are quality issues, it’s not so easy.

“The domestic guys have taken what they want of the downgraded stuff.”

Considerable stocks of ASW-type wheat are believed to have been warehoused with GrainCorp, where the free storage period runs out on June 30.

One buyer said big falls in US futures markets, as well as Russian wheat values, have been the big downforces on global values.

“Some grower-brokers were putting out offers $10-$15/t above the market, and now that’s out to $20,” he said.

“The high dollar is probably dampening things a little bit, and we’re fully covered out to new crop.”

South soaks up rain

As forecast, South Australia received some handy falls in the week to 9am today that are ideal for germinating crops, and not before time.

Most farming districts got 5-30mm, with Cummins on 38mm getting the most.

Crops in SA are generally a long way behind those in NSW, Qld and much of Vic. Photo: James Stacey, Strathalbyn, SA

Victoria also received some good rain, and registrations include: Dimboola 30mm; Horsham 8mm; Nhill 31mm; Ouyen 11mm; Rupanyup 11mm, and Woomelang 22mm.

Good rain has also fallen in SA’s South East, but Victoria’s Western District has once again missed out, and very cold temperatures will do nothing to promote pasture growth.

Drier parts of Vic’s key farming regions, the Mallee and the Wimmera, are also feeling the cold.

“All the crop’s definitely in the ground, but there’s a mixed time of germination, and with the soil temperatures cooling off, we won’t get growth in this next little phase,” one southern trader said.

“Our cropping conditions are much more favourable now than they were three weeks ago.”

As with the northern region, southern growers are said to be pushing some wheat warehoused with GrainCorp into the market, and consumers are snapping up some grain at cheaper rates..

“Offshore values pushed these domestic prices lower, and we are coming off some high domestic prices.

“Melbourne wheat would be back $25 or $30 on where it was two or three weeks ago.”

The trader said barley has also softened, but not as much.

“China is still buying most of the export barley, and mixed farmers and livestock guys are hanging on to barley in case it turns dry.”

Faba beans are priced at around $500/t, and lupins $20/t more.

“We’re struggling to compete against export and get them into rations.”


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