Test­ing times in win­ter

Tasmanian Country - - NEWS -

A WET, hot start to au­tumn for most of Aus­tralia fol­lowed by a pro­jected dry spell will mean mixed re­sults for Aus­tralian farm­ers over the win­ter pe­riod.

Poor weather took a heavy toll on Aus­tralian milk pro­duc­tion in Fe­bru­ary, with milk sup­ply down 10 per cent from last year, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est Rabobank Agribusi­ness Monthly re­port.

Milk pro­duc­tion is down 8.4 per cent on last year, about 580 mil­lion litres.

The Rabobank re­port said while de­cent March rain­fall had car­ried through into April across many dairy­ing re­gions, the loom­ing threat of El Nino and a drier-than-av­er­age win­ter was ex­pected to slow pro­duc­tion on the pre­dic­tion of a re­duced avail­abil­ity of good feed.

It fore­casts full-year south­ern Aus­tralian milk prices in 2017-18 to reach about $5.70/kg milk solids.

Global wheat prospects re­mained solid in all ma­jor pro­duc­tion re­gions, with global wheat de­mand down 1 per cent from last year.

Stock lev­els re­main keep­ing prices sub­dued.

“The next six to eight weeks will be telling for the 2017-18 Aus­tralian wheat har­vest vol­ume high, ... and yield prospects are av­er­age to pos­si­bly de­clin­ing,” the re­port said.

In­creased plant­ing of canola is ex­pected, with prices par­tially re­bound­ing af­ter a drop to al­most $500/tonne last month.

The East­ern Young Cat­tle In­di­ca­tor has in­creased 9 per cent since March last year, from 6.11/kg cwt to 6.66/kg cwt on April 6 this year.

“While nor­mal sea­sonal trends see prices start to in­crease through April as sup­plies con­tract, it is dif­fi­cult to see prices much higher than cur­rent lev­els,” the re­port said.

Cat­tle pro­duc­tion and slaugh­ter lev­els re­mained lower in Fe­bru­ary and to­tal pro­duc­tion was down 10 per cent from last year.

Ex­ports of cat­tle to South Korea dropped 25 per cent in March, while ex­ports to Ja­pan in­creased 18 per cent.

Lamb prices set a record on April 6, hit­ting 6.81/kg, up 30 per cent on last year.

Lamb ex­ports to China also set a record, to­talling 12,647 tonnes swt for the first three months of the year.

Wool came down from its March high of 1551c/kg, hit­ting 1457c/kg ear­lier this month, as a drop in Merino bid­ding saw mar­kets set­tle.

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