Anthony Hall, Regional Manager NSW & QLD
Summer cropping… it never ceases to amaze how quick things can turn around. The past week’s weather conditions have been far from ideal; relentless heat, no rain and a less than average forecast for rain in the coming months. Most of the NSW summer cropping belt experienced plus 40oC for the past six days and QLD wasn’t much better ranging from 38 to 42oC. Driving through NSW & QLD this week it’s hard to see where last week’s storms fell with the heat burning off any green pick.
Early sorghum crops are finishing quickly in the heat while later crops are struggling and will need another decent fall of rain to maintain yields. There have been reports that dryland cotton is starting to struggle during peak growth with continued high temperatures and lack of rain. Irrigated crops even struggled this week. Trying to keep up with moisture usage meant watering schedules were reduced, pivots were left going full time and ground water users are being cut back on their pumping times.
Central Queensland cotton harvest is in full swing with yields ranging from 9 to 12 bales. Fairbairn dam is looking terrible, currently sitting at 13.5%. It’s very dry around Emerald with no real evidence of recent rain until you get to Capella. Below are some photos of sorghum planted between Christmas and New Year in the Capella area. This crop had 2.5 inches of rain after sowing on an already full moisture profile. Harvest is expected at the end of April and early May.
In terms of pricing, markets in general are softer overall with barley now coming from WA and landing in the Darling Downs feedlots for around $400-405/MT. Wheat has remained rather steady at $440-445/MT delivered Darling Downs. Sorghum has come off slightly with the arrival of harvest in some parts. Darling Downs is $1-5/MT softer but still edging close to the $360/MT delivered level while the early shorts in the Liverpool Plains must have been sorted and that market is back $5-10/MT this week. New crop APW1 MG Newcastle is steady from last week at around $350-355/MT NTL track. For now, it seems rallies will be short due to execution costs from WA being competitive, so expect prices to work in a reasonably tight range for the short term.
Prices as at 31st January
* View of current market pricing. Does not represent current Agfarm bids.