Australian Farmers Wait for Rain as GrainCorp Warns of Dry Start


Crop handler GrainCorp Ltd. has warned about challenging conditions in Australia’s east as grain farmers across the nation wait for rain, with most winter crops planted in dry soil.

“We are still quite a way from having any predictable levels of what the crop size would be,” for the upcoming season, GrainCorp’s Chief Executive Officer Mark Palmquist said on a call with media and analysts on Friday. “It really does depend on what moisture profile we get over the next month.”

Parts of Victoria and New South Wales had the driest April on record while southern Australia as a whole had its third-lowest amount of rainfall for the month, according to the Bureau of Meteorology. Southwest Australia and parts of western Victoria have an increased chance of a drier than average May to July, it said.

“It may be a dry start to the season, however it is still early days,” Rabobank International said in a report released on Friday. “Substantial season opening rains in mid-through to late May would put the season mostly back on track.”

The dry conditions in Western Australia have forced growers to substitute barley for canola, the Grain Industry Association of Western Australia said Friday in a report. Canola areas may be 15.2 percent lower than estimated a month earlier, it said, while area planted to barley will be 6.2 percent higher.

The dry conditions are helping push prices for Australian grains higher. Australian wheat for January delivery gained 2.1 percent to a 10-month high on Thursday. It has increased 4.6 percent so far in May and gained about 16 percent this year.


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