Australia. Bumper wheat, barley harvests boost pulses


THE huge yields of wheat and barley harvested last year are having some unexpected knock-on effects and pulse growers are starting to see some benefit.

As protein is a key quality-determining factor, the classification of this season’s harvest speaks to just how much the protein component of grain was diluted with starch.

Grain receival companies have noticed the portion of the wheat crop testing under 10.5 per cent protein changing from 30 per cent in 2015 to 65 to 70 per cent in 2016.

Accordingly, stockfeed manufacturers have needed to increase their levels of protein sources to compensate for the lower grain proteins.

Demand for canola meal has impressed oilseed crushers and sales have quickly tightened supplies, with some mills rumoured to have sold out.

Canola meal is quoted by merchants at $362 a tonne ex Melbourne, up $30 a tonne since the start of the year.

Faba bean growers near Donald, who have been patiently storing their crop waiting for the export markets to fire up, have found demand from local stockfeed mills.

Faba bean prices have increased $10 this week to $255 a tonne, delivered Melbourne.

Recent rains are sharpening growers’ attention on sowing and current prices will influence their new crop program.

Prices received by growers will affect oat plantings more than any other grain.

After an extraordinary rally where milling oat prices exceeded Australian Standard White wheat prices for 28 months, oat prices have come back with a thud.

This time last year, milling oats with test weight higher than 52.5 kg/hl were trading at the equivalent of $325 a tonne, delivered Melbourne.

Ten months earlier, milling oats hit a record $415 a tonne.

Inspired by these prices, oat millers encouraged production with forward contracts and growers responded with a 10 per cent increase in the area sown to oats in Victoria last year.

As a result, estimated oat production increased from 175,000 tonnes in 2015-16 to 305,000 tonnes this season.

Domestic oat millers in Victoria and South Australia were able to secure their requirements locally, no longer needing to buy from WA.

Competition from sellers for the domestic milling markets has been robust, and prices have fallen to $150 a tonne for milling oats and $135 a tonne for feed quality.

Once the domestic market fills, there are few others.

Unlike other cereal grains, there are no well-developed, high volume markets for oats from eastern Australia.

Recent rains will allow growers near Rochester and Elmore to start their canola program with some to start sowing at the end of next week.

The recent fall in the dollar has helped to boost new crop canola prices back up to $507 a tonne delivered to Victorian ports.


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