• Rikki Lambert

Your Friday farmgate data (w/e 28 May)


Agriculture across the Flow family in southern Australia continues to watch the skies for rain and the north for mice as the two strongest threats to a good harvest, while livestock prices remain healthy as the national herd rebuilds.


AWB reported this week that 'southern crops' were 'on tenterhooks' as SA and Victorian farmers wait for the break in the season. It's not too late, they say, but on mice it's not just the seeds being dug up but early shoots and even new canola cotyledons getting chomped.


The Australian dollar remained steady against the greenback this week at 78 cents after falling 1 per cent the previous week.

Water


Across the Murray-Darling Basin water prices stumbled back down on average to $80 per megalitre after sitting for a few weeks at $100.


In the South Australian Murray that average price is at $90, in the NSW Murrumbidgee it fell to $80 while in the NSW Murray the price fell to $94.80 on average. Victorian Murray prices are holding steady at $95.


Meat and Livestock


MLA observes that the Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows the national cattle slaughter declined over the past 12 months as Australia's herd rebuild post-drought continues. Beef carcase weights have broken records, with improved seasonal conditions delivering an average 313.7kg. Sheep weights are also up to a national average 24.6kg, up on the December quarter and barely down 200g on a year ago.


Cattle


Argentina imposed a snap 30-day ban on exports to contain a 65 per cent increase in a year in domestic beef prices, MLA reports, which could be good news for Australian exporters. 76 per cent of Argentina export market is to China, but the short-lived ban may not have a price impact for Australian beef. However, Chinese and other importer confidence in Argentina as a reliable source could be eroded and see longer-term attraction to a consistent Australian origin.


The Eastern Young Cattle Indicator picked up further across the week by 4.22c to 891.03c, inching back to the 902c hit a fortnight ago and the 12-month peak of 907c on 21 April.


Nationwide, Medium Steers were the big price improver, lifting 6-7 per cent across the week to sit at 397.5c on Thursday. Restocker yearling steers were not far behind, lifting 15.2c to 542c this week.


Cattle - Victoria


Victorian prices have fallen away this week, with medium steers falling heaviest (-37c to 385c), vealer steers down 27.5c to 457c and processor yearling steers down 21c to 454c. Victorian prices now lag the other states in all categories with Medium Cows the strongest performer, the best in the eastern states at 293.7c despite shedding 9.6c this week.


Western Victorian prices are the best in the state for vealer steers (461.3c), feeder steers (437.4c) but the worst for processor yearling steers (432c).


On Wednesday Warrnambool yarded 29 fewer head of cattle to 829 overall, with quality reported to be plain to good.


Cattle - South Australia


South Australian processor yearling steer prices are now the best nationwide at 471c (+15.9c), while last week's nation-leading medium steer prices conceded first place in the rankings to Western Australia (430.7c) but are still the best in the east at 427.7c despite a 12c fall this week. Vealer steer prices improved to also be the best in the east at 520c, just ahead of NSW at 519.6c.


Wednesday's cattle yarding at Mount Gambier was up 100 head to 615, with quality reported to have fallen away this week with less weight and condition over the offering.


Naracoorte yardings rose slightly to 861 head on Tuesday, with reported mixed quality with a market firm to a little better on price.


At the SA Livestock exchange at Dublin the yardings are still small, just 88 head this week of mixed quality.


Cattle - New South Wales


While NSW prices lag the other states in most categories, heavy steer prices (402.8c, +11.5c) are now the nation's best and medium cows (293.6c, +0.6c) barely behind SA (293.7c) as best ranked in the east.


Southern NSW prices were strongest in the state for restocker yearling steers (548.9c) medium steers (452.8c), feeder steers (462.9c) and medium cows (300.5c)


On Monday Wagga saw 898 more cattle into the yards to total 2,958 head overall, attributed to the excellent prices reported last week drawing more sellers into the market.



Sheep


On the Eastern States daily indicators today from MLA, the sheep prices lifted across the week with trade lambs the biggest improver, up 30c to 843c, followed by mutton (680c, +26c) and merino lambs (771c, +14c). Restocker lambs fell nationwide (884c, -20c) and are the heaviest hit across the last 4 weeks and compared with last year's prices.


Sheep - Victoria


Victorian sheep prices have shot ahead of the pack, rising in every category this week, with restocker lambs a standout at 932c (+34c), Tasmania the next best at 871c. Light lambs at 851c (+33c) are also strong ahead of the next best, NSW on 806c. Merino lambs rose 34c to 806c.


Almost across the board western Victorian prices were better than those in the central west's Shepparton, Wodonga and Swan Hill yards, except restocker lambs at 932c in the west and 940c in the central west.


Thursday's Swan Hill trade remained steady at 5780 head compared to a fortnight ago, with MLA reporting some good heavy grain fed lambs int he yarding while trade and light lambs tended to be mixed for quality and lacking consistent fat cover.


On Wednesday Horsham trade fell slightly with more lambs and less sheep overall, sitting at 6,400 head with a reported excellent selection of heavy lambs.


Sheep - South Australia


South Australian sheep prices fell away this week across all categories to trail other states in most areas, with restocker lambs falling heaviest, down 110c to 796c. Mutton prices in SA are now the second best in the nation at 673c (+37c), behind Victoria on 690c. Trade lambs were the next best improver for SA, up 14c to 775c.


Tuesday's yarding slumped at Naracoorte, down 3,772 head to 5,337 with reported mixed quality and thus both markets selling to dearer rates this week.


After a downhill run on yardings at SA Livestock Exchange at Dublin they had to lift eventually, and lift they did on Tuesday, up 1,500 head to 9,000. Quality was reportedly extremely mixed with light Merino lambs making up a large percentage of the offering.


Sheep - New South Wales


NSW prices continue to sit in the mid range, although trade lambs rose 26c to 840c to now sit second only to Victoria who were the biggest upward movers across all categories. Restocker lamb prices plunged 80c to 838c.


Southern NSW prices lifted compared with the central west and north of the state to be top price in restocker lambs (895c), mutton (695c), light lambs (811c) and heavy lamb (791c).


On Thursday, Wagga sheep numbers surged 20,880 head to 60,380 yarded as farmers finished cropping and cleared paddocks for ewes and lambs.


Monday's yardings at Corowa rose 1,370 head to 15,500 building on last week's quantity gains, with quality also good and the market firm.


Wool


Wool prices remained steady this week at $1,315/kg clean on the Eastern Market indicator and $1,361 in the West.


Grains


The 8 to 25 millimetres of rain that fell during the week across parts of South Australia and western Victoria were enough to get dry-sown cereals, pulses and canola going, AGRIvision told GrainCentral this week. Average or better yields, AGRIvision's Ed Nixon said, were still possible.


GrainCentral reports that the late start to the South Australian and Victorian winter cropping season is starting to be seen in the market as falls that would otherwise have been triggered by a US grain futures sell-off were offset by concerns over the dry conditions.


Melbourne Barley is down just $5 to $275 and wheat down $8 to $332.


International prices fell this week, down 4 per cent to US$281 per tonne on the US No. 2 hard red winter wheat fob Gulf indicator monitored by ABARES. In Australia, milling wheat and feed wheat prices


AWB reports that at Newcastle port wheat prices reached $325 per tonne with a recent softening in prices by $15 to $20.


Canola


The Australian Oilseeds Federation released their 2021/22 crop report this week projecting a 2020/21 harvest of 4.276 million tonnes, with an estimated 4.03m projected for next season, with Western Australia lifting most and Victoria and NSW projections falling. The area sown is looking like a record at 2.87m hectares, up from 2.28m last season. AOF attributes the same factors mentioned earlier in this report - the late season, dry seeding and mice for its lower harvest forecast compared with last season. South Australian projections remained close to this year as reported growing intentions indicated a lift in area sown from 225,000 Ha to 270,000 Ha.


World market prices fell heavily this week, down 13 per cent on the Vancouver rapeseed indicator to US$605, still 64 per cent better than the same time last year. Domestic price at Kwinana remained steady at A$742 per tonne.


AWB nonetheless report that canola continues to exceed $750 per tonne at Newcastle noting a potential record canola planting nationwide. AWB attributes that surge to the record Western Australian plantings and tropical moisture that helped the crop get going there.