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Grain Comment, 17 October

Local prices fell this week following better than expected rains on the mainland, precipitating improved farmer selling.

In contrast, concerns are mounting over yield potential of dryland crops south of Campbell Town. Winter wheat especially is at a crucial stage for grain fill, and strong drying winds, inconsistent rainfall and low subsoil moisture paint a grim picture. BOM’s November-January outlook remains much dryer than average, both for Tasmania, and for key mainland growing regions. Sheep prices slumped again, wiping out much of last week’s gain.

Across the ditch, Saturday’s general election has granted a slim majority to a National-led right-wing coalition. Federated Farmers New Zealand are welcoming a change of government. In a June statement, President Wayne Langford said, “Farmer confidence is at record lows. For the last five years farmers have been living through unprecedented regulatory change”. National’s proposed farming policy reforms include reinstating live exports, doubling the seasonal worker cap and delaying on-farm emissions charges until 2030.

Heavy rains have damaged crops in Henan, China’s largest grain producing province. With over a billion mouths to feed, food security is a huge issue for Beijing, who want to increase their grain stockpiles while world prices are at three-year lows. As a result, China is on track to import a record amount of wheat for the fourth year in a row; mainly from Australia, but also from Canada, France, and the US.


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