November 26, 2008


Australia's New South Wales grain harvest resumes after heavy rain 


A harvest of winter grains, including wheat, in Australia's northern New South Wales state has resumed after widespread heavy rainfall had stopped work, industry sources said today adding a downgrading of wheat quality may be likely.


Grain intake from the harvest by GrainCorp Ltd. (GNC.AU), which owns a little more than half of the upcountry grain storage in eastern Australia, has now started to return to the same levels seen before the rains halted harvest around November 17, Corporate Affairs Manager David Ginns said.


Before the harvest stoppage, GrainCorp was receiving more than 250,000 tonnes a day into its system, Managing Director Mark Irwin said at the time.


Ginns couldn't outline the extent of any expected downgrading in wheat quality, "because we just don't know yet; not enough has come in since the rain."


It may be that high quality milling wheat that was harvested before the rainfall stoppage and stored on farm could be delivered to the system and be replaced in on-farm storage by more recently harvested lower quality wheat, "but it's all a bit early yet," he said.


Warehousing of wheat by growers in GrainCorp's system is continuing at a higher rate than the normal 80 percent. This likely reflects growers taking advantage of a fee-free period that sees grain delivered in October having fees charged from December 1, while November receivables aren't charged warehousing fees until January 1, he said.


Growers tend to assign or commit wheat ahead of these dates, he said.


Andrew Woodhouse, a risk management consultant at Advance Trading Australia Pty Ltd., also spoke of the potential for downgrading of yield and grade in northern New South Wales given the extensive wet weather.


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