• Loddon Herald

Big grain haul

A BUMPER harvest, Australia’s international price competiveness and domestic demand for grain could cap off a good season for local farmers.

Boort Grain Co-operative manager Jon Bucknall said the local facility received $145,000 tonnes last month, second only to 2016-2017’s 170,000 tonnes.

Barley accounted for 60 per cent of of grain stripped from 100 farms in the district and wheat 35 per cent.

“It’s been an exceptional season,” he said.

Mr Bucknall said an estimated 70 per cent of the grain was currently warehoused at Boort and ready for marketing.

“We are expecting strong demand from both export and domestic buyers this year,” he said. “Our grain is of a pretty high quality.

“Early fears of a La Nina forecast by the Bureau of Meteorology gave cause for some fears prior to harvest but it has turned out pretty normal for quantities across the quality grades for both wheat and barley.”

Mr Bucknall said Australian wheat and barley was extremely competitive in the international market and expects bulk export demand to be strong through to August.

He said the market had alrfeady adjusted before China announced increased tariffs on Australian barley.

“They first advised of claims of dumping back in 2018,” he said. “So the market had reacted well before China’s announcement late last year.” Currently listed at just over $200, local barley has also displaced wheat as the preferred feed in some industries including chicken production, Mr Bucknall said.

He said a large domestic market had emerged for the local grains, particularly in the Goulburn Valley.

About half the total receival at Boort this season came from the co-operative’s 40 members.

Industry observers have predicted a possible doubling of Australian barley exports to Thailand and Vietnam with India also indentified as a market to fill the void left by China snu bbing the grain.

Domestic buyers are facing with balancing local price and demand with increasing interest from overseas, Mr Bucknall said.

“Domestic consumers went into harvest on the short side because they knew there was a big crop, and now they’ve found barley is up $20 on where they could have been buying at harvest,” commodity broker Brad Knight said last week.

Mr Knight said they faced competition from container packers chasing tonnage on short notice, as a limited number of boxes become available and from exporters looking for final parcels to top up bulk shipments.

Grain Corp in its final harvest report said the total received in Victoria at its sites had been 3,5 million tonnes.

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