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Winter Crops in the Eastern areas & onto the Liverpool Plains continue to progress well and are in a good position if we can see some softer Spring conditions, a large percentage of the western districts however have had a tough year from the onset and remain very marginal with the dry conditions and warmer than average temps continuing through August. Crops around Spring Ridge, Premer, Gunnedah, Edgeroi, Bellata, Biniguy, Croppa Creek & North Star continue to hold good potential while areas 30 – 40km west of the Newell highway are significantly below average & will continue to decline until we see significant rainfall. Worst affected areas include Walgett, Lightning Ridge, Cryon & Mungindi where reports of abandonment are starting to funnel through. Early crops continue to look the best however will rely heavily on further rainfall, the recent frosts have caused some concern for growers with any crops which are currently flowering but the overall impact is difficult to determine.
Overall Central and Southern NSW is looking good crop wise. After a dry start to the season, above average rainfall in June and July has set up the potential for above average production. Growers are cautiously optimistic but realise spring rain is still required to fill the full potential of the crop. Crops have produced a lot of biomass and will use the available moisture when temperatures begin to warm up. With the mild winter experienced so far crops are well advanced and may be exposed if a late frost is experienced. Diseases are also a concern with the current moist conditions, most agronomists advising clients to monitor crops closely and treat if required.
Unfortunately north of Coonamble and through Walgett into Queensland has not fared as well and will be below average production this year. Plantings are well down yoy and those crops that were planted will need a good spring to come to fruition.
Presently this area of concern is being outweighed by the excellent conditions in the south with the overall Australian crop production forecast slightly higher than last year.
Offshore markets have been focusing on the northern hemisphere crop with weather concerns the main drivers of fluctuations in the market. Generally there are only minor weather concerns and are producing short, and not sustained rallies. Production estimates are for large wheat crops across America and a large canola crop in Canada. The Black Sea region will again be a major exporter and competitor for Australian markets. Most concerns seem to relate to the US corn and bean crops rather than wheat but the wheat market is being manipulated by these concerns.
Australian export wheat values have largely followed suit fluctuating in a range but showing a declining trend as northern hemisphere grain becomes available. This has been helped by the $A falling which has cushioned a lot of the fall in CBOT futures. The domestic demand and floor that it had provided in the old season crop has diminished with most consumers now comfortable until new crop comes in. There is a general bearish feel for these consumers who are reluctant to take much new crop cover at current levels.