Record grain harvest tipped

THE combined effect of a strengthening currency and lower grain prices this season won’t be enough to dampen returns for this year’s WA wheat harvest.

WA Department of Agriculture grain market analyst Anne Morcom said that, although wheat prices had fluctuated, the potential for a record harvest was very good.

With crops to be harvested shortly, Ms Morcom said the yield was likely to be more than 13 million tonnes of grain.

The wheat harvest is expected to account for at least 9,000,000 tonnes.

Ms Morcom said wheat protein levels were likely to be affected due to the size of the crop, and with the market anticipation of a large harvest, these factors were assisting in keeping wheat cash prices down.

And while grain prices were relatively stable, export prospects were being hurt by the strengthening Australian dollar, she said.

The AWB last week made minor adjustments to new season grain pool estimates in light of the recent rises in the Australian dollar.

Estimated pool returns for the benchmark Australian Premium White grain remained steady at $210 per tonne, down $40/t on this time last year, while varieties such as Australian Standard White and Australian General Purpose grain have been revised slightly downwards.

Ms Morcom said three of the world’s major wheat exporters – Australia, Canada and the US – had all had good season, while the wheat crop in the EU, Russia and Ukraine performed poorly.

The EU has placed a moratorium on all wheat exports, and may look at introducing an export levy in the near future.

The situation is a direct contrast to the world export market last year, when drought badly affected crops in Australia, with the EU and Russia faring well.

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