Agribusiness

Record Australian harvest close to completion as focus turns to prices

Favourable weather conditions across grain growing regions of Australia throughout the season have helped the nation’s crop farmers deliver a record harvest, according to Rural Bank and Rural Finance’s February 2017 Australian Crop Update.

Expected to exceed 53 million tonnes, the 2016/17 harvest is set to be the highest on record and 34 per cent higher than 2016’s season.

The challenge now for growers will be to secure the best price for their grain, as prices are predicted to remain under downward pressure both domestically and internationally.

The new report, launched by specialist insights team Ag Answers, provides producers and industry with a concise analysis of the current national and world crop production estimates, seasonal conditions, prices, demand and financial performance of Australia’s cropping farms.

Most states are nearing the completion of this year’s harvest, while Tasmania is not expected to finish until late March, due to wet winter conditions and delayed sowing.

Andrew Smith, General Manager Agribusiness for Rural Bank and Rural Finance, said the wet conditions throughout winter and spring had been a game changer for Australia’s crop farmers.

“Despite initial concerns about frost damage affecting Western Australian crops in the early growing season, good weather conditions for the rest of 2017 have meant that our crop farmers are experiencing record yields.

“Although domestic and global crop prices remain under pressure due to strong supply – particularly for wheat and barley – prices are expected to stay within recent ranges,” Mr Smith said.

The new report revealed Australia is not alone in producing record high crop yields in 2016/17, with global wheat production levels also predicted to reach all-time highs.

“With Australian production now known, all eyes will be firmly fixed on the performance outlook for the northern hemisphere grain and oilseed markets, as this will greatly affect market activity over the next few months,” Mr Smith concluded.

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