November saw harvest start and finish for many growers on the Newcastle zone, with our growers in Queensland having been all but finished by the start of the month. The dry run continued for Narrabri and Moree areas for harvest to finish early in the month. For much of the month the forecasters dangled the chance of rain in front of our noses, with almost every week beginning with talk of over an inch of rain by the weekend, only to be reduced to spot showers once the weekend finally arrived. This was not true further South, with growers on the Liverpool Plains experiencing decent rainfalls every weekend, with most South of Boggabri accumulating several inches over the month. Unfortunately these growers were still in the middle of harvest, with decent areas still to come off at the end of November, unable to get a good run at it. No one would be bold enough to complain about it though, with the rainfall much needed for these growers to begin planting of summer crops, avoiding the issues of last season’s very late, high moisture finish. Narrabri managed one decent shower over the month, with some growers around town pushing over 50-60ml, sustaining sorghum and cotton crops already planted. Moree hasn’t been as lucky, while the severe dryness continues in Queensland with thoughts of planting dryland summer crops being a very distant proposition.
As mentioned, the last of this year’s harvest is not far off completion for growers on the Liverpool Plains and Central West. It has been a challenging season for all, with the extended dry and hot Spring impacting growers throughout NSW and Qld, with many acres gone in this year not reaching harvest. As harvest has progressed the quality has remained high, with much of the crop managing high protein levels, while screenings have been an issue throughout. Yields, on the other hand, have been mixed, with an average yield being considered a decent result given the moisture available.
Sales have been made on a steady basis throughout the month, with little volatility in wheat prices over the space of several weeks. The best value for high protein wheat has been found going in to container markets, with first Moree and then Narrabri packers being active buyers throughout the month, however thinned out in the latter half of the month. The back half of the month did see prices improve for protein wheat on farm around the border into Queensland, where previously grades up to H2 were being priced basically as 70/10. 70/10 markets continue to offer strong values, both in the north with the shortness of stocks and dryness in Queensland, and on the Plains with feed lots becoming more active. It has taken basically the entire month for durum growers to see reasonable values, with the final week of November having prices finally push up to $300 or better for many durum receival sites. Barley prices have remained steady throughout the month, with buyers preference to own stocks being pushed out to the new year. Owners of malt had been disappointed by the very short period available to attract a premium, however by the end of the month limited demand saw prices improve for these stocks. Canola has also finished the month strongly, with track prices surging up to $519 track for the limited stocks yet to marketed. And finally we have seen some demand for chickpeas, with prices for chickies back to being better than faba beans, although only just. With prices finishing the month at $400 delivered to several packer destinations, and up to $440 delivered to Brisbane, growers have taken the opportunity to unload stocks, although there large quantities are remaining, these growers being happy to hold stocks well in to the new year.