DEMAND for grain from the domestic market centred in drought stricken regions of northern NSW and southern Queensland is set to continue, in spite of the fact local production will again be at historic lows.
Brad Weier, Emerald Grain North regional manager, based in Toowoomba, said the many livestock enterprises in his area had become comfortable bringing in grain from long distances.
And Mr Weier saw no reason for this pattern to change this season with potentially more sources of grain available.
"Although once again it is looking really ordinary locally, there does look to be the prospect of a bit more grain about in the south than there was last year so there will hopefully, season permitting, be more access to stocks from the Riverina, Victoria and South Australia.
Mr Weier also pointed to the prospects of intrastate consignments heading to the Darling Downs.
"We know southern Queensland is not looking that good in terms of a winter crop, but up in central Queensland they look to be well set up for a good year.
"It is not the hugest grain producing region in the country but they look pretty sure to grow more than they will consume and anything that is lower than APH quality is likely to be priced to move south, which will be another source of grain to ease supply concerns."
He said the prospect of reasonable crop in WA would also act as another buffer for those worried about supplies.
"Last year was more of an unknown, we weren't sure of the logistics of bringing Western Australian grain across, but that all worked out well and people know that it can be done," Mr Weier said.
He said he did not feel that further international grain imports would be necessary.
"On pure economics you would not think there will be any reason for people to bring grain in, providing there is not a major hiccup between now and harvest."
Price wise, Mr Weier said the international market would serve to keep a lid on local prices rising too high.
"There have been some cuts to production estimates in some places in recent weeks but places like Russia will still produce over 75 million tonnes of wheat, so there is the grain available globally."
Malcolm Bartholomaeus, Bartholomaeus Consulting, said the world supply and demand balance was still comfortable.
"We've seen downgrades in potential production in Russia, Canada and Australia in recent weeks but the bottom line is the numbers are all still higher than this time last year," Mr Bartholomaeus said.
"With less grain about it will run down carry-over stocks a bit but it is not a crisis point by any means."
Mr Bartholomaeus did, however, have a word of warning regarding southern Australian crop potential.
"The yield potential is certainly there for many at present, but equally there is not much stored moisture and the long term forecast is not that optimistic, so you could find things could turn quite quickly if we don't continue to see constant rain through August."
In terms of grain movements he said if the season continued as it shaped up at present he expected less big shipments of grain from Western and South Australia and more road and rail grain movements from the southern states north.
"We could see the grain moving in smaller volumes this time around, but it all will depend on how the season plays out."