December 15, 2008


Australia's winter grain harvest to exceed 30 million tonnes
Australia's 2008-09 winter grain harvest is expected to exceed 30 million tonnes, despite heavy rainfalls that disrupted harvest and resulting in large volumes of downgraded grain.


Current winter grain harvest is seen to increase 36 percent on-year to 30.6 million tonnes, with wheat production estimated to reach just below 20 million tonnes, according to the Australian Crop Report by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE).


While the forecast reflects good growing seasons across Queensland, northern New South Wales and Western Australia, it is unable to show the impact of the rains on grain quality.


Feed grain prices are seen to fall further, as large volumes of downgraded grain are expected to enter the market along with the overall decline in Australian and global grain prices.


Indicative prices for feed wheat and feed barley declined 46 percent and 32 percent, respectively, to their lowest levels since August 2006, between September 1 and December 7.


The ABARE forecast report revised down 18 percent or 6.5 million tonnes of grain harvest from the initial estimation of 37.1 million tonnes in June. This was due to poor spring and widespread crop failures across southern New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.


Victoria is expected to harvest 2.8 million tonnes of grain, down 29 percent on-year, while South Australia's production increased 13 percent to 4.3 million tonnes swt.


West Australia's harvest is projected to grow 34 percent on-year to 11.9 million tonnes. For New South Wales, good harvests across northern and central regions of the state offset a failed season in the south, with production expected to skyrocket 189 percent on-year to 9.1 million tonnes.


Queensland is also expected to reach its highest level of production in nine years at 2 million tonnes.

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