Tim Hogarth, Agfarm Account Manager VIC
A week of mostly fine weather has allowed crops to dry out and for harvest to regain much needed momentum. Stripping in the north-west is nearing completion, with growers finishing off the last of their wheat now. For many, the quality has diminished further with each rain event, and low falling number and bulk density (test weight) has led to downgrades. Central Victoria and the Wimmera are not as far advanced as the rest of the state, but are (for the most part) through canola and have made good headway into the cereals. The relatively tight finish to the season seems to have led to elevated levels of protein in wheat. Many growers are reporting they are producing H1/H2 in paddocks where they were expecting APW or lower, and surprisingly not at the expense of yields, which are holding up very well. Western Districts are nearly through their considerably large canola crops and now find themselves deciding whether to go onto barley, which at current prices is a sell, or wheat, which is of greater overall value but more of a hold.
The big story this week has been the massive fall in canola values, with spot prices losing $20/MT since this time last week. Buyers aren’t falling over themselves to buy tonnes and the only sellers bringing canola to market currently are those forced to do so for cashflow purposes. Growers are recognising the value of barley at the moment and consequently have been pricing tonnes both in the system and exfarm at values some $60-$70/MT better than this time last year. Lentil prices are looking marginally better over the last couple of weeks, with bids of $520/MT delivered Melbourne for some varieties. However, virtually all of the Victorian lentil crop resides on-farm and undoubtedly most have prepared themselves to hold for a long time. We will likely need to see a much greater lift in values to prise a grower’s length from his hands.
Photoed: Better make sure the bin lids are closed mate! Rain on the way at Weering, VIC
Prices as at Friday 15th December 2017