Alistair Murphy, Agfarm Account Manager CNSW
This week saw most markets either hold steady or begin to firm, with just a few exceptions. Newcastle SFW1 January+ carry values ended up slightly weaker, mainly off the back of prompt shorts from last week now being covered. Track protein wheats have bucked December’s downwards trend over the past week, and have kicked slightly in some instances as an outcome of international futures and a softer Australian dollar. Despite this, the majority of Newcastle zone growers who still own protein in the bulk system have been happy to wait and see if there is a decent kick in values on the horizon.
We have seen continued liquidity in the southern parts of the East Coast, as the recent bounce in protein values has encouraged some additional selling in higher production market zones such as Port Kembla and Victoria.
All barley reports have suggested it has been extremely hard to buy in decent quantities, particularly in Northern NSW and Southern Queensland. This makes sense given last year’s sown acres were well down, with values being at extremely low deciles during the plating window. The combination of lower acres with noticeably lower yields has resulted in an extremely tight balance sheet in the North East.
We are consistently receiving more and more buying enquiries for onfarm barley and feed wheat, though values haven’t firmed too aggressively on this front so sellers in Northern NSW are remaining non-committal on providing any types of firm offers.
The massive Darling Downs consumer market hasn’t necessarily carried the recent upside, as there is a decent level of coverage across the consumer front. One of the saving graces for the northern barley market was the arrival of a cargo boat loaded with 2016/17 barley from South Australia, which has helped mitigate the market in the short term. It won’t take long to chew through this cover however, so if replacement tonnes continue to remain hard to buy then this market may need to price higher in order to encourage some type of liquidity.
On the chick pea front, the week started at seasonal lows while the market is still adjusting on the back of the recent pulse import tariff announcement from the Indian government. Although, the softer Australian dollar did bring some love back into this market by firming physical values around +$30/MT of the low. With pulse prices back year-on-year, and two years of overly maxed-out rotational production, we could see a shift away from a big desi plant heading into the second quarter of 2018.
Photoed: Fields of sorghum on a 36 degree day at Tambar Springs this week.
Prices as at Friday 12th January 2018