Chinese demand for feed grain sizzles


A temporary ban on US sorghum meant China bought large volumes of Aussie feed grain in March and April, competing against a rock-solid domestic market.

Australian Bureau of Statistics data has shown China’s insatiable appetite for feed grain has meant it continued to compete against soaring Australian domestic grain prices to dominate international purchases of Aussie feed grain through March and April.

Lloyd George, market analyst with AgScientia, said Australia exported just under 1.1 million tonnes of barley in March and around 550,000 tonnes in April.

Of that, he said as much as 90 per cent headed to China, which also made large purchases of Australian sorghum.

“It came during the time when China was restricting access for US sorghum and it pushed the demand into a whole bunch of other areas,” Mr George said.

“That meant there were good sales of Australian barley and sorghum as Chinese users tried to source grain.

“March, in particular, was a very big month for feed grain exporters and that was nearly all driven by China.”

Mr George said he felt the movement of old crop feed grain to China would slow now as prices in locations such as the Darling Downs reached white-hot levels.

“China was competing against the Australian domestic market which has been very high all this calendar year, but in recent months it has become probably the most expensive grain in the world.”

“In US dollar terms, wheat delivered to Brisbane, which is being used as feed, is more expensive than wheat delivered to Iraq by around $50/t (A$67/t).

“No export market is going to compete with this, and we’ve seen that in grain in other parts of Australia being moved around in intra-continental shipments to Brisbane rather than exported.”


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