Feed grain price update and winter crop outlook

20 June 2018

For the first few weeks of June, wheat delivered Darling Downs averaged $401/tonne, up 48% from the same period last year, while barley increased 60% to $406/tonne (Profarmer). Wheat delivered Goulburn Valley was 50% higher year-on-year, averaging $322/tonne in June so far, and barley was up 62%, to $307/tonne.

Winter crop outlook

ABARES have released their winter crop outlook for 2018-19 – a quarterly report that assesses crop condition and the forecasts of area, yield and production for Australia’s major field crops.

The beginning of the 2018-19 winter crop season varied across the country. Rainfall during autumn was mostly below average, although cropping regions in WA, SA, Victoria and southern NSW received some well-timed rainfall in May, which assisted sowing of winter crops. Most cropping regions of Queensland and northern NSW, however, remained dry – hindering planting in these areas. At the end of autumn, lower layer soil moisture across most cropping regions were ‘below’ to ‘very much below’ average – meaning adequate winter rainfall will be critical for crop development.

According to the latest three-month rainfall outlook from the Bureau of Meteorology, WA has an approximate 50% chance of receiving average rainfall during winter, while the south-east mainland is likely to be drier than average over the outlook period.

The total area planted to winter crops is forecast to be 4% lower overall, to 21.1 million hectares – due to decreased areas across NSW, Queensland and WA. Higher prices for cereal feed grains, compared to oilseeds and pulses, are likely to see a greater area planted to barley, and a reduction in area planted to canola and legumes.

ABARES report that the area planted to wheat is forecast to ease 2%, to 12 million hectares, while the area to barley is predicted to grow by 10%, to 4.3 million hectares.

Assuming average winter rainfall arrives, winter crop production is expected to be down slightly to 37.7 million tonnes. Wheat production is forecast to lift 3% to 21.9 million tonnes and barley is forecast to increase 3% to 9.2 million tonnes. Offsetting these increases, canola production is predicted to be 16% lower, at 3.1 million tonnes, chickpea production is expected to decline 40%, and oats production is forecast to remain similar, at 1.1 million tonnes.


For more information on the ABARES winter crop outlook, visit the ABARES website.

Read our previous feed grain price update.

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