Desperately needed grain is heading east by ship, train and truck

With all of the NSW now drought declared the need to find stockfeeds becomes even more imperative - the good news it’s on its way.

Its coming by sea, train and truck but the logistics of moving this grain interstate may cause a few delays.

Western Australia and South Australia are now supplying the eastern states with much need grain and their 2018 harvest prospects look far more promising than those for NSW, Queensland and Victoria

Glencore Agriculture’s general manager trading, Philip Hughes remains optimistic that there should be a good to excellent wheat crop in WA, with reasonable growing conditions until harvest, and the recent rains in SA have boosted prospects for that crop.

Melbourne based Glencore Agriculture Pty Ltd, is the second largest exporter of grain/oilseed and pulse commodities from Australia, and also a major supplier of grain commodities into the domestic market. The business has grain accumulation offices based in all of the key grain growing regions around the country.

However, the NSW wheat crop has been devastated by drought and will be substantially below the 10 year average of 7.4mm/t down to around 2.5mm/t. He said currently there is significant demand for stockfeed – and there are coastal ship movements from WA and SA to Queensland and Newcastle plus train and truck movements into Vic and NSW.

This feed is for livestock – including poultry and beef feedlots as well as wheat for flour millers. Mr Hughes said “that the industry will have shipped more than 600,000 tonnes of wheat and barley from WA and SA to the East Coast markets during the past 10 months. 

“Glencore Agriculture has shipped three vessels so far from SA and WA into the East Coast feed and flour milling markets. Given the growth in the East coast stockfeed and flour industries since the last major drought in 2007/08, the task of satisfying demand has grown significantly.

“Grain from WA and SA can and is being shipped to ports such as Newcastle and Brisbane relatively easily but there may be logistical issues getting the grain from the ports out to feedmills/beef feedlots and end users due to the anticipated large volumes involved.”

Forecasts of grain demand from WA and SA to the East Coast is approximately 3.5m tonnes from October 2018 to October 2019.

He said the situation could ease to a degree as it did in the 2007/08 drought with timely rains that meant producers could sow significant areas to summer crops especially sorghum. 

Fodder may need to be imported from WA to the East Coast as supplies become very tight.