Tim Hogarth, Agfarm Account Manager, VIC & SA
We are another week into harvest, however it feels as though we have progressed relatively little. Significant rainfall right across the state late last week brought harvest to a standstill for several days and with the Bureau of Meteorology forecasting a trend towards a wetter than average summer, many are anxious about the harvest program that lies ahead. Rain is also forecast state-wide for the coming weekend and while not in a quantity that will impact quality, it will be enough to stop headers rolling until Tuesday or Wednesday pending the prevailing post-rain conditions.
Harvest completion is estimated at 25-30% complete in the Mallee, 10-15% in the Wimmera, 10% for the Central and North-East, and 3% for the South-West.
The impact of frost in the Southern Wimmera and Western Districts is still being felt, although the initial shock has worn off. Large swathes of WD wheat, particularly red wheat, have been cut for hay. Others with heavily frost affected wheat have opted to take a chance and grow it out due to the prohibitive costs associated with baling and selling into what is currently a depressed hay market.
Grain markets have remained largely unchanged since this time last week, which has been the case for around the last six weeks. Buyers are not going out of their way to pay overs to secure tonnes and growers for the most part are still waiting for a rally before leaning in to make significant sales. We have seen some barley come to market in the last few days, with growers selling F1/malt ex-header in a bid to bypass the bulk handling system and generate some early cashflow, but these tonnes have been relatively minor in the grand scheme of things. So for the time being, the question remains as to who can hold out longer. Will the grower be forced to sell for cashflow in the absence of a rally (and possibly suppressing a market lift by doing so) or will the trade be forced to pay up to see liquidity from the grower?
Photoed: A 2.75MT/ha canola crop being harvested near Cressy in the Western Districts (22/11/17)
Prices as at Friday 24th November