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Outlook for Grain Prices Good

7 August 2002
Outlook for Grain Prices Good

Growers should be optimistic about grain prices for the upcoming season, says Grains Council Chairman Hugh Ritchie.

"Plantings of wheat and barley in Australia were down this year and they are now experiencing drought conditions. We are already seeing the effects of this on the price of milling wheat in New Zealand," said Mr Ritchie.

"This year's premium milling wheat contract prices have increased around $20/tonne to about $350/tonne, which suggests that millers are already expecting to pay higher prices for imported Australian milling wheat.

"There have recently been some shifts in price of barley but the favourable milling wheat prices are increasing the competition for land use and will see the other cereal options remain competitive.

"ABARE, Australia's leading agricultural researcher has recently predicted that Australia's total wheat and barley crop will be down by nearly 9 million tonnes from last year. That is a significant decline that is likely to be reflected in the domestic prices.

While the price of barley in New Zealand is weak in relation to wheat prices, Mr Ritchie says that the differential may not remain for long.

"Australian feed prices are also likely to be affected by the smaller harvest, so the price of imported feed grain is likely to be higher. Feed grain users will have to match returns for wheat if they wish to secure their New Zealand supply."


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