October 31, 2008


Australia 2008-09 wheat harvest progress with favourable weather


The weather has been very conducive over the past week and the hot and dry late spring in Southern NSW and Southern Victoria signifies that the harvest is actually moving south to north.


Hot and dry weather this week prompted Australia's 2008-09 wheat harvest to get into progress in central, western and northern parts of New South Wales, with the onset of harvest weighing on future prices, said Brett Stevenson, grain marketing manager at Market Check on Friday, 24 October 2008.


Growers seeking to sell wheat for the first time in an unregulated market that no longer requires growers to sell to the Australian Wheat Board, for export under the single desk scheme are exerting pressure on ASX wheat futures.


At 0446 GMT, the most active, ASX January 2009, was down A$3 at A$277 a tonne, down from a peak of A$283 / tonne this week, also partly in reaction to a weaker Australian dollar and higher prices in the US wheat futures market.


Stevenson said as a result of the deregulation of the market, there have been a lot of growers wanting to sell their wheat during harvest all at the same time; therefore the ASX is under pressure.


Several areas harvesting at the same time also poses some problems of labour and equipment availability. First reports from Northern NSW referred to excellent quality and quantity of wheat and barley.


Soil conditions are still too wet in Western Australia, the largest wheat producing region in the country, which has started to affect the quality of barley, said Mark Martin, risk management adviser and director at commodity manager MarketAg.


Hot and dry weather in the southeast grain belt this week prompted Australian Crop Forecaster, or ACP, to lower its wheat harvest expectation by 2.5 percent to 19.5 million tonnes, but other market watchers were still confident of a crop totalling around 21 million tonnes, down from initial expectations of 24-25 million tonnes.


During last year's drought-affected harvest, Australia, the world's sixth-largest wheat exporter, only produced 13 million tonnes.


Video >

Follow Us