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Soggy Start to Australian Harvest

08 November 2011

AUSTRALIA - It has been a wet start to the 2011-12 winter crop harvest across southern Queensland, with stormy weather holding growers back last week.

Rainfall was variable, with falls of up to 50 millimetres around Miles and Condamine. However the isolated storms meant rainfall across most areas was much lighter, ranging be-tween 5mm and 30mm reports Queensland Country Life.

There were reports of isolated hail in the Condamine region but no crop damage is anticipated.

Early wheat protein levels appear to be lower but the pattern of extremely low protein levels seen in Central Queensland is not apparent at this stage.

News that China bought 500,000 tonnes of Australian Standard White wheat boosted local wheat prices last week. It's unusual for exporters to sell significant quantities of ASW ahead of harvest but the move indicates exporters are expecting lower than normal protein this season.

The 500,000 tonne sale to China represents half of their forecast imports this year. Some analysts think ASW wheat may be used to meet their booming feed grain demand as it is significantly cheaper than corn.

Last week US Hard Red winter wheat gained $6 to $310/t FOB US Gulf while Soft Red Winter wheat gained $6 to $268/t FOB. High-protein US wheat lost further ground against other wheat last week falling by $3 to $388/t FOB Pacific North West.

Black Sea wheat gained last week with export offers gaining $8 to $248/t FOB. US corn prices were unchanged at $282 FOB.

The International Grains Council raised its world wheat production forecast to 684mt, just shy of the record 685mt in 2008-09. IGC also raised its forecast of Black Sea wheat exports to 37mt compared to the USDA'S forecast of 34mt in light of the current record export pace.

Last year Black Sea countries exported just 14 million tonnes of wheat after drought in Russia where exports for June to mid-October reached a record 11.5mt.

The strong export pace from the Black Sea region is making it difficult exporters including Australia as they struggle to compete with the cheaper wheat.

A 3.5c rise in our dollar cut export prices last week as the currency climbed to back to its highest levels since early August.

Local APH2 prices fell $7 last week to $287/t delivered Bris-bane as world high-protein wheat values eased and the dollar rose.

Stockfeed wheat prices eased by $2 to $218/t delivered Too-woomba and $228 Brisbane. Sorghum prices gained $2 to $230/t delivered Brisbane. Feed maize priced lost $10 to $250/t delivered Toowoomba.

Feed barley prices lost $1 per tonne to $214 delivered Darling Downs markets.

Old crop Desi chickpeas gained $15 to $515/t delivered Brisbane.

TheCropSite News Desk

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