As we are closing in on the middle of 2017, the north eastern side of Australia is in the midst of a cold dry winter currently with not much moisture forecasted for the near future. As of where we stand this month, it seems a very much a wait and see situation. This can be said also for the U.S. spring crop, while particular areas have been privileged to some rain as of late, at the current time it seems to be a bitter sweet scenario with the rain falling at just the wrong time where it will not really provide any real benefits to the crops. The USDA report this week has reported that the winter wheat is doing very well on average yet the spring wheat condition is very dismal dropping significantly below the five year range.

With a tour conducted around the north west of the state just west of Narrabri to Walgett yesterday there was much to take note of. Whilst an estimation of 75% of the area has been planted (the further west from Narrabri the less this precent is), it certainly needs some watering. There has been a swing to chickpeas in the more western areas due to lack of moisture. The Walgett shire is largely unplanted, with some better areas east of Walgett such as Cryon and Rowena.  Therefore, to summarise, the cereal crops that are in have potential but will need rain this month. Chickpeas will hold on that little bit longer as they don’t draw much moisture until August/September. This region is of interest due to the protein issues in the Spring wheat regions of North America. If northern NSW (NNSW) dose not have a good season, this will remove a large amount of prime protein area & therefore the supply of protein wheat from Australia, magnifying the protein deficit around the world. Whilst southern NSW is in better condition than NNSW, a dry season in NNSW, will only add value to southern NSW grain values as the strong domestic demand from NNSW & SQLD forces the drawing arc south, resulting in less quantity of SNSW grains available for export. Whilst you never write off an Australian crop in June, many eyes will be monitoring this situation to August when many will make their minds on crop potential – what this space!

Wheat has had an exciting week with prices starting to climb in an attention grabbing way. January 2018 Feed Wheat has spiked by $20/tonne from the $270 to $290 delivered Darling Downs. Prompt bids are low $280’s. Prompt F1 feed barley is also up at the mid $260’s. Sorghum is again partnering closely with Wheat just trailing behind by a few dollars, the bids seen delivered Downs are around the low to mid $270’s for June 2017. Current crop chickpeas have dropped a further $10/t this week showing prices at $1,000/t Narrabri, or $1,020 Darling Downs for July delivery. With only a couple of weeks till the end of Islam’s fasting period of Ramadan, we are optimistic that demand can return. New crop chickpea bids are around $800 Narrabri & $820 Darling Downs for October/November. Faba beans have remained sluggish with values at $200 Ex-Farm around Narrabri & Moree. New crop multi grade APW NTP Newcastle is biding attractively around the $280 position with no sellers.

Cotton has dipped steadily over the past week, as the market fell over the long weekend it had been forecasted to do so and thus most were prepared. Weather isn’t projected to play much of a role in the futures market in the supply of cotton for 2017. Prices dropped slightly to around $530-40/bale for current crop, with new crop 2018 holding steady at $520 to $525/bale. The AUD/USD is holding its own this week remaining just over the $0.75 mark.

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