Earlier this year, Emerald Grain conducted its first national crop survey. With our national network of grain merchants based locally in all key grain growing areas, we were able to collect a large amount of information from 1870 growers nation-wide, covering 3.2 million hectares across all key grain growing regions of Australia.

The data will assist us with our own grain marketing, pricing and site segregation, but most importantly, it also will assist our grower customers with their own harvest grain marketing plans.

Growers who took part in the survey have been emailed a personalised report which contains state and local data, which we hope will assist them greatly with their grain marketing.

This national report includes:

1 – National data survey scope
2 – Year-on-year changes in wheat plantings
3 – Year-on-year changes in barley plantings
4 – Year-on-year changes in sorghum plantings
5 – Year-on-year changes in canola plantings

 

Table 1: Scope of national crop production data collected by Emerald Grain
Australia

Pinpoints denote grain growing properties that took part in the survey

 

 

Wheat

National wheat crop plantings for 2014/15 season look unchanged from last season on the surface, but where the hectares are being grown tells a different story. Thanks to an impressive production year last season and good rains over the sowing period, both South Australia and Western Australia have increased the area sown, striving to make the most out of each of the state’s more marginal cropping areas. Victorian and Southern New South Wales also got off to a good early start and as a result can expect harvest to come a few weeks earlier this season.

Queensland and northern NSW were reeling from a poor production year in 2013/14 and were tentative coming into the winter crop season. They suffered an extremely dry summer in what should have been their wet season. Combined with alarming calls for concern over building El Nino weather patterns and zero soil moisture, growers were reluctant to commit to a full plant if anything at all – a decision that seven months into the season looks to have been a wise one.

What does this mean for your grain marketing plan?

We’re finding most growers are reluctant to let grain go into the market at current prices. But Aussie wheat pricing at below export parity, growers would need a very dry September in some key production regions in order to get the price spike they are looking for.

Table 2: Changes in wheat plantings year-on-year
Wheat dif

All states showed a small increase in wheat plantings at the beginning of 2014

 

Barley

Barley plantings have held firm across the country, but we have seen new localised planting trends. In particular, Victoria’s Western District saw a good deal of barley displaced by red wheat. To the north, NSW sought some security in planting higher volumes of barley into lower-than-average soil moisture, especially given the threat of El Nino was being pushed throughout the sowing period. In WA, canola displaced some of the more traditional barley growing regions, but the barley figure was buoyed by growers opting to plant more marginal hectares than they would have previously due to the quality rains they had seen up until planting. SA was at its consistent best with barley hectares remaining unchanged from the 2013/14 season.

What does this mean for your grain marketing plan?

Malt premiums may widen this season with quality concerns out of Europe and Black Sea, whilst feed barley could face competition in international feed markets from a record US corn crop and more European feed wheat on the market than usual.

Table 3: Changes in barley plantings year-on-year
Barley plantings varied across growing regions

Barley plantings varied across growing regions

 

Sorghum

Another dry summer for 2013/14 crops with below average summer rains experienced in the traditional wet season. Many sorghum growing regions moved into official drought territory. As a result, sorghum production was well off the 5-year average, however slightly above the 2012/13 crop. With some late rains this year it would be reasonable to expect a full plant throughout Northern NSW and QLD over the 2014/15 summer.

What does this mean for your grain marketing plan?

Growers will be hopeful Chinese demand is sustained if they do manage to get a crop away as cattle herd numbers and turnoff rates will likely have declined by the time harvest arrives.

Table 4: Changes in Sorghum plantings year-on-year
While sorghum plantings have increased they are still well below average

While sorghum plantings have increased they are still well below average

 

 

Canola

Canola figures look likely to decline this year after a record 2012/13 season, which was followed by the second highest production year last year. This year we should see more “normal” production, although it’s worth noting that on the back of a monster production year last year, WA has increased their canola hectares thanks to the soil moisture they were seeing during planting. Victorian and SA growers took a modest decline in canola area into this season and NSW was lower also.

What does this mean for your grain marketing plan?

Domestically, we could see some brief spikes in the canola price as end users pay up to ensure that they are covered for their own needs. That said, international oilseed supply looks to be ample this year so that could place some pressure on price.

Table 5: Changes in Canola plantings year-on-year

 

WA was the only region to increase canola plantings this year

WA was the only region to increase canola plantings this year

 

 

If you would like to find out how you can use this information to customise your own grain marketing plan, please get in contact with your local grain merchant.