James Ryssenbeek, Agfarm Regional Manager VIC
From there, I have spent the rest of week in the Wimmera around Rainbow/Hopetoun, working with Agritech. The 2018/19 season varied greatly through this area, from pleasantly surprised ~2MT/ha cereals to crops that didn’t yield anything. Pulse crops were uniformly the worst performers due to frost damage. Rainfalls ranged from 100-150mm in December with follow ups of 10-40mm in February, which has kept things ticking along. Retained soil moisture has been good, with most growers having had to do two summer weed sprays so far. Given the rainfall and good soil moisture they currently have, most growers are looking at around 20mm for them to sow. Sheep feed sowing will commence end of March for most, with cereals to start thereafter. Fertiliser and chemical sales are slowly starting, but the bulk is definitely yet to be purchased. Canola plants are still in question at the moment, and that decision will be made based on when/if there is a break, and how much moisture the break brings.
Hay and domestic grain sales are moving still, but new season cash markets continue to slide, with wheat off $20/MT this week. The key driver in this slide is changing local supply, which has eventuated for two main reasons – although there are many more factors at play. 1. China’s ban on F1 barley imports has introduced supply into the market from WA that wasn’t accounted for nor expected. 2. World grain markets are all coming off which means to remain export competitive, Australian pricing also needs to come off some.
Prices as at 1st March
* View of current market pricing. Does not represent current Agfarm bids.