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Wheat shortage: Cereals in, as grain growers turn backs on pulses

Wheat shortage: Cereals in, as grain growers turn backs on pulses

March 14, 2018


A GLOBAL shortage of wheat, a lift in feed barley prices and a tariff on pulses will send grain growers back to sowing cereals this year.Rabobank senior grains and oilseed analyst Cheryl Kalisch Gordon said that outside of China, world wheat stocks were expected to decline for the first time in five years.“China is not a major importer or exporter, so when we take them out of the equation we have a deficit situation created by reduced supply and healthy demand,” Ms Kalisch Gordon said.She said there had been a lift in wheat prices with US prices lifting “to uncompetitive levels internationally,” due to drought in some of the key grain-producing states. However, Ms Kalisch Gordon was reluctant to say there would be a dramatic price spike.


She said barley stocks were at a 30-year low, because people turned away from barley when the prices were down.“We went from a record 13 million tonnes back to a very normal 8 million tonnes (last harvest) and the people who held on to their stocks did well,” she said.Pulses are expected to be a smaller part of the rotation for growers in southern Australia this year.Pulse Australia chief Nick Goddard said fewer hectares of lentils and chick peas would be grown this year following the imposition of tariffs by India in December.The subcontinent accounts for about 85 per cent of Australia’s chick pea exports.


“We’ve had very high incidences of pulses in the rotation, much more than is recommended for good farming practice and I expect that to come back,” Mr Goddard said“It will end up being more of a typical rotation where instead of 50 per cent of the rotation it will be 20 per cent.”John Alexander, a cropping farmer in Devenish, grew chick peas for the first time last year.While his inaugural harvest was a success, he was a bit wary of the market given the dramatic drop in prices.“When we got to harvest it was $1000 to $1200 a tonne ... then before we knew it they stuck this tariff on,” Mr Alexander said.“Our experience over the years is basically to ignore the markets anyway and work on what works best for your rotations and your agronomy.”



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