Reid Seaby, Agfarm Regional Manager WA
The weather has generally been kind over the last week or so with approximately 10–40mm falling in most agricultural regions. The first front which came through early last week maintained the northern pattern which we have seen this season, with southern zones getting less than they would normally expect from a cold front. This pattern did change somewhat over the weekend with a more traditional low pressure system hitting Perth and sweeping through the south west. This rain didn’t reach the north and east agricultural zones. The south east of WA continues to be deprived of rain and growers around Esperance continue to look to the skies. At this stage, the front moving through on Sunday/Monday looks promising, so fingers crossed everyone gets a soaking.
GIWA released their June crop report last week, updating their planting estimates across the four zones. Total plantings were unchanged from May, but canola acres were down 9.2% from the previous month’s estimate. Canola is forecast be down 300,000 hectares from 2017 due to attractive bids for other commodities such as barley, and the lack of early rains. The state barley area is forecast to be a record high of 1.6m hectares. This has been driven by price, barley being a substitution for canola due to the lack of early rain, and re-sowing of wind damaged paddocks.
It was a reasonably volatile week in grain markets, but the moves were far from consistent across the commodities. Old crop barley finished where it started but 2018/19 Malt jumped $12/MT week on week to end at $305/MT FIS Kwinana. Old crop H2 moves weren’t dissimilar, pushing $9/MT higher to $330/MT, while other grades were generally weaker. 2018/19 wheat bids were unpredictable jumping $7-8/MT higher after the USDA report, but gave back most of the gains the following session.
Prices as at 14th June