Dream run for winter crops

This year is shaping up to be a memorable one for Australian agriculture and Australian farmers.


ON TRACK: NSW's winter crop production is forecast to be 16.1 million tonnes.


This year is shaping up to be a memorable one for Australian agriculture and Australian farmers.

Recently, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) published its Australian Crop Report, which unsurprisingly saw production increases to the Australian winter crop following what can only be described as a dream run for the majority of the country.

ABARES has forecast wheat production at 32.6 million tonnes, barley at 12.5 million tonnes and canola at 5 million tonnes with an overall total winter production forecast at 54.8 million tonnes, which would make it the third largest crop on record behind last year and 2016/17.

Queensland is expected to have a phenomenal season, producing 63 per cent more grain than last year's winter crop at 2.7 million tonnes, 1.8 million of which is wheat.

Throughout NSW, winter crop production was forecast to be the second largest on record at 16.1 million tonnes, 3 million tonnes behind the record set last year.

Western Australia holds the key to this year's crop with ABARES forecasting a 20 per cent increase from last year to a record 20.3 million tonnes of winter crop: 11.5 million tonnes of wheat, 4.9 million tonnes of barley and 2.4 million tonnes of canola, all records in their own rights.

Plenty of questions remain around the crop's profile with expectations for a somewhat normal spread of protein and with the global supply situation for high protein wheat in deficit, those producing prime hard wheat should see reasonable premiums.

In Queensland and northern NSW, prime hard wheat is fetching $15 to $20 a tonne over the base grade for wheat.

Wheat futures finished on a six-week high thanks to momentum generated from the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) small grains and quarterly stocks report, which showed a larger than expected cut to the US production forecast as well as a reduction in stock levels to the lowest since 2007. This meant Australian sellers were left with a small window to sell their crops after the rainfall totals had been officially counted.

However, it was only after the USDA report was released that higher-than-expected buying drove nearby futures back above the 750 cents a bushel mark, which is well above Australian $350 a tonne.

Basis, however, is expected to weaken significantly for Australian grain growers with the current production forecast pointing towards a second above-average winter crop this year.

The canola market continues to attract plenty of interest with prices firmly in the top decile and offering excellent marketing opportunities for those in a position to capture those prices.

With production prospects for that commodity as impressive as they are, it is almost hard to believe that some are in the vicinity of hitting or exceeding $900 a tonne at their local depot. This has seen forward sold percentages at historically high levels for this time of year, and with many in the industry forecasting a canola crop of over 5 million tonnes, the Australian canola grower is benefitting immensely from a shortened supply from Canada and strong global demand for oils.

With the expected bumper harvest coming our way, AWB, a trademark of Cargill Australia, is proud to support growers once again.

"We are focused on providing growers with access to markets, grain pricing, market insights and storage and handling services," a spokesman said.

"We encourage growers and carriers to use our Grower Delivery App as it plays an important role in keeping our customers and our sites safe from COVID-19.

"It is an easy-to-use online application, providing an alternative to filling out paper forms and allowing drivers to stay in their trucks at the time of sampling.

"We seek to provide growers with an efficient and enjoyable experience at all our GrainFlow sites as well as offering two-day payment terms and the option to cash on delivery."


RECORDS TUMBLE: Western Australia is set for a record winter crop and Queensland is expected to produce 63 per cent more grain than last year's winter crop.

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