Giles Ditchfield, Agfarm Account Manager VIC
It seems most of the state can breathe a sigh of relief after escaping the weekend rainfall event and only receiving 20-40mm. There were still some regions to the north-east of the state and around Swan Hill that copped the full barrage, which will definitely have an impact on the crop. As we progress through the week growers are slowly getting back into harvest. Unfortunately for some, this has been a slow, drawn out process due to high moisture levels in some areas stalling headers once again. Rolling showers through most of the state are also causing enough of a nuisance to further prolong the harvest. We should get a solid run of harvesting over the next week with very little to no rainfall on the forecast.
Early reports from those back harvesting is that quality has been affected to varying degrees depending on the varietal grades sown. These varietal grades include mace, kord and grenade. Only time will tell how much grain is downgraded. All loads across all sites are now being tested for falling numbers, with bunkers being opened up for lower grade grains. Prior to the rain growers were frantically harvesting their crops, and as such the Vic progress is as follows:
Grain and oilseed markets were varied this week with offshore futures, foreign exchange and the domestic whether conditions all having an impact on the market. Canola continued its trend from last week and fell away while the higher protein wheat and malting variety barley attracted many buyers and has seen a premium in the market. High protein wheat got to a $320/MT Melbourne track level this week, while the lower grades remain largely unchanged, if slightly back a few dollars. We could see this spread increase more as growers continue harvest, mainly due to the crops being shot and sprung in some areas. Barley is demonstrating a very similar spread where we are seeing a $20-35/MT premium for malt over feed. The rain caused the market to price in risk accordingly, and as a result, this week we have now seen an adjustment back in price.
Photoed: Frantically harvesting wheat before the rain closes in near Piangil
Prices as at Friday 8th December 2017