Queensland sorghum prices tumbled 7 per cent last week, weighed down by the advancing harvest and the need to uncover export demand to shift what's now expected to be a sizeable harvest.
Trader bids fell $25 to $350 delivered into the Darling Downs packers and feeders. Exporter bids into the up-country storage network were also down by $25 to around $350 Brisbane port equivalent. Stockfeed wheat and barley prices into the Darling Downs also drifted lower last week.
Sorghum harvest is advancing but still in its early stage. Farmers are reporting southern Queensland sorghum yields are coming in better than expected. It will be a drawn out harvest this year because of the later plantings which will spread from January into May.
Traders said last week's sharp drop was a transition from the tail end of last year's crop into the new crop. They said the local prices had now fallen to levels where Queensland sorghum was competitive with United States sorghum into China.
China is the major destination for sorghum imports, accounting for around 85pc of global trade. Australia has exported more than 2 million tonnes of sorghum to China in the past 12 months.
Later planted crops have enjoyed favourable growing conditions since planting with regular summer storms starting in November. Ongoing storm activity has resulted in above average summer rains making for ideal summer crop growing conditions.
Australia's 2024 sorghum harvest is expected to come in well above early season expectations, which were constrained by the expected dry weather typically seen in El Nino years. Many production assumptions were predicated by sharply reduced sorghum plantings because of the expected dry weather. Instead, most farmers have taken advantage of the late spring rains to plant summer crops, including sorghum.
Many now expect the national sorghum crop will exceed 2 million tonnes, well above the early estimate of about 1.5 million tonnes.
Recent storms across the Central Highlands were perfectly timed for sorghum plantings in the regions. Most of the region has received 75-750mm in the past fortnight, which will allow for farmers to plant sorghum.
Southern Queensland farmers also recorded more general storms in the past week, maintaining prospects for above average summer crop yields. Dalby received 77mm for the week with most areas recording 30mm to 75mm.
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