Kate Phillips, Agfarm Regional Manager South Australia
This week has taken me around the Mid – North of SA checking out the local scene and dropping in to see growers and stores. Thankfully, the weather has played along and has been pleasantly mild. In saying yet, it’s not quite jumper weather yet, as temperatures are set to get back up to the high 30’s -low 40’s by mid next week.
Attention for most growers at this time of year typically turns towards seeding plans, and it is becoming quite apparent that many are yet to firm up their plans. We are expecting to see growers move away from canola this season, with barley the likely substitute. With feed barley prices still relatively buoyant as compared to “average price” years, it is hardly surprising that growers will be chasing yield to take advantage of these prices while they last.
While things have remained fairly quiet in markets, we have seen some strengthening across the board this week in all but the canola market. We haven’t quite reached the historical highs we saw before last harvest, however the market does seem to be recovering somewhat from the large downward swing in February. It’s important to remember we are still a long way out from next harvest, and end users are going to have to continue to buy coverage between now and then, so it will be interesting to see where prices track in the next few months.
Feed barley has seen the biggest gains over the past month with Port Adelaide track realising a +$13/MT end to the week, finally getting back into the $300’s at $309/MT. Port Lincoln F1 saw a similar strengthening of +$18/MT with buyers sitting at $265/MT. Wheat has followed the same trend as barley week on week, with buyers bidding around $322/MT for APW1 Port Adelaide and $312/MT Port Lincoln.
New crop bids followed suit to old crop bids, with APW1 multigrade Port Adelaide reaching the magic $300/MT again. Last year, this was the trigger number for many growers to start locking away forward contract parcels, however this year we are seeing little grower engagement at these levels. In delivered markets barley is seeing bids around the $325/MT mark for Adelaide zone homes. ASW1 this week is sitting at $350/MT and SFW1 $338/MT.
Picture: Hay at Stockport SA.
Prices as at 14th March
* View of current market pricing. Does not represent current Agfarm bids.