By Tyson Hosie - AWB
With the Queensland cousins making a start to harvest proceedings these past few weeks, in between bouts of wild weather, New South Wales patiently waits for the crop to come in, albeit slowly given the gentle finishing conditions. As Meatloaf once said, we’re “All revved up, with no place to go!”
Weather has been a mixed bag of late, with the most recent heavy forecasts thankfully softening, and the outlook for the coming two weeks becoming more coastal in nature. This is welcome news for these big winter crops trying to navigate their way through to the finish line.
Summer croppers have welcomed a sound spring break, seeing near ideal planting conditions replicated for a second year in a row. Sorghum and cotton will be sown in the coming weeks, although ground temperatures are still quite low in some areas.
Through northern areas of NSW, barley is starting to come off in style, whilst early canola has also commenced. The wheat is still one to two weeks away, reportedly, while chickpeas are not expected to start coming off until early-to-mid November.
Preparations at bulk handling sites are almost complete, with additional storage capacity and freshly-minted staff all raring to go.
Market wise, prices for all commodities remain well underpinned by the international production issues, with bids generally rangebound ahead of harvest commencing in earnest. The slow finish to the crop has seen the strength of some September markets linger into October longer than expected, providing opportunities for both long-held old crop and the odd early new crop parcel have been able to capitalise on premiums, especially into Queensland border markets.
There is concern from growers that when the weight of this large harvest is felt that bids will come under significant pressure. The expectation remains, however, that premiums for high quality wheat will continue to be found into the export channels, evidenced by the current Fixed-Grade options being offered into Queensland and New South Wales ports.
Our well-established containerised pathways for milling wheat and chickpeas do, however, have an additional freight and box availability challenge ahead of them this season. This may result in the best early options being into the bulk handlers, when all variables are weighed up.
Strong domestic demand for feed grains, given the very high prices for livestock and improving feedlot margins, will continue to lend support to bids, with better values on offer for delivery into the New Year.
Canola pricing continues to defy all forecast expectations for this season, and we now just wait for the opportunity to crystalise what is expected to be a fantastic crop into cashflow.
In the meantime, enjoy these last few crop tours and the calm before the storm, as we will all be going like “bats out of hell” before we know it – here’s to it being “paradise by the chaser-bin light” in a couple of weeks’ time.