Big Aussie wheat crop flagged

08 Jul, 2016 02:00 AM

CROP forecasters have put in estimates for the 2016-17 Australian wheat crop between 26.1 million tonnes and 26.7mt, up markedly on last year’s 25mt crop.

Even at the lower 26.1mt figure put out by the National Australia Bank the crop would rank as one of Australia’s top five on record, while the 26.7mt figure released by Rabobank would be in the top three years ever should it come it at that level.

Rabobank grain and oilseeds analyst Ben Larkin said his company’s numbers were based on an increase in yield, rather than acreage.

“We expect plantings to remain similar to last year, but we have raised our average yield to 2.09 tonnes a hectare.

At present, analysts are reporting near perfect conditions across the majority of Australia’s grain belt.

In Western Australia, agricultural meteorologist David Stephens said the wheat crop was threatening to challenge the record yields of 2003, when the overall average was 2.25 tonnes a hectare.

“As of June 27, with an average finish to the season, we predict yields of 2.15t/ha, which would rise to 2.19t/ha should the seasonal weather predictions, for slightly wetter conditions, come to pass,” Dr Stephens said.

“Similar to 2003 the rainfall has been above average in autumn, and below average in June in the southwest which has prevented too much damage from waterlogging.”

“A record could be reached if an above average August to October is received.”

Phin Ziebell, agricultural analyst with NAB, said his company’s forecast could rise with a kind spring.

“Our central case estimate for the 2016-17 Australian wheat crop is 26.1mt, based on rainfall to date and average rainfall in major cropping areas for the rest of the season,” he said.

“However, our high case estimate, based on 20pc above average winter rainfall, points to a national harvest of 27.1mt.”

Mr Larkin said the only glitch to an otherwise perfect start was a small area in northern New South Wales and southern Queensland, which got off to a slow start before recent rain.

He said this meant some areas slated for winter crop would now be left fallow for a winter crop in those regions.

Elsewhere, Mr Larkin said the season to date was near ideal.

He agreed with Dr Stephens’ assessment of the NSW crop.

“Conditions in Western Australia couldn’t be better, with the majority of the state’s cropping regions recording between 100 and 300 millimetres of rain between January and May.”

Mr Larkin said most of southern New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia had also had the rain to facilitate a full planting program.

Gregor Heard

Gregor Heard

is the national grains writer for Fairfax Agricultural Media
Date: Newest first | Oldest first


Mock Junro
13/07/2016 8:19:53 AM

There are plenty of strategies that growers can use to minimize price risk - but whether you have an AWB, or another trader - they cannot influence the global price of wheat. The best thing a grower can do is take risk of the table, through hedging.
jock moronro
13/07/2016 9:50:04 AM

Jock - the farmer is responsible for selling his product! just like in every other industry. It is not anyone elses job to sell your grain!!!
Jock Munro
13/07/2016 7:44:51 PM

Playing with paper won't market the whole Australian crop nor will it maintain quality standards or promote good service to our customers.
14/07/2016 9:16:19 AM

Have you been speaking to customers directly, Jock?
jock moronro
14/07/2016 10:16:07 AM

Selling "paper" is all the AWB used to to do market the crop u really think that global consumers want to buy their grain 12 months forward...or do you want the middlemen to buy it from farmers and hope someone will come and buy it from them?
Philip Downie
19/07/2016 7:20:53 PM

Jock Moronro think that is what the AWB did, but it wasn't hope as, except for years of high production of non milling wheat, it was all sold and its called marketing not trading. Trading is where you sell something and don't really care if you have more to sell when the customer wants it, marketing is making sure your customer can always get the quality they want when they want it from within a season.
Jock Munro
20/07/2016 6:01:56 AM

Well written Phillip- the non believers are in for a nasty shock. We had it 'nailed' when our single desk national pool was in operation- no amount of belligerence and ignorance can destroy that fact. Even traders are saying that the single desk should never have been abolished.
20/07/2016 1:48:23 PM

I'm a non-believer in compulsory acquisition which the single desk was. I am a believer that the glut of wheat in the world will only be remied by knocking out some series production. This will mean the bottom 25% of producers in Australia will come under increased financial pressure and will probably leave the industry. The price decline ensures wheat use into the future, as end users get addicted to cheaper product, similar to the iron ore industry. The consumer is expected to pay high when shortages occur and they should benifit in times of abundance...simple!
wheatgrower for 53 yrs
21/07/2016 12:26:04 PM

Jock no use blaming the merchants. YOU could have forward sold a percentage of your wheat earlier for a good price ( if you know how ) instead you were,nt proactive so now you have to start blaming somebody. Time to get a grip old fellow the world is awash with wheat at the moment.
Jock Munro
21/07/2016 4:48:34 PM

No Boris- this single desk was not compulsory acquisition. The grower had choice but the export task was in the hands of the national pool manager and it was a highly successful arrangement that put our small nation at the very pinnacle of global wheat marketing. Why anyone would wish to send Australian wheat growers to the wall when there were high global wheat stocks is beyond comprehension.
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