Industry planning needed ahead of grain harvest

By Jamie Salter

As Australia heads for one of its biggest grain crops, a major challenge will be ensuring the industry is ready to handle the volume.

That's according to the latest ANZ grains report, which looked at the challenges facing growers and companies in the grain supply chain as harvest approaches.

ANZ Agri Research director Michael Whitehead said despite a recent dry period in a number of grain regions, the outlook for the national wheat crop remained at 26 million tonnes.

“After last year’s drought-hit low of 15.2 million tonnes, this would be an increase of 71 per cent,” Mr Whitehead said.

“In addition, on some current estimates, wheat exports are currently forecast to jump by around 90 per cent to 17.5 million tonnes.”

The forecast increase in production and exports would be among the largest year-on-year rise in more than 50 years.

This could still be impacted in coming months by the economic effects of the coronavirus on some export markets, as well as the dynamics of other major global grain exporters.

Mr Whitehead said members of the grain supply chain should ensure they are well-prepared for the coming harvest and that transport, storage and export processes run as efficiently as possible.

“Growers, contractors and traders will also be looking ensure adequate availability of harvesting and transport machinery, including headers, trucks, and train capacity,” he said.

For the global grain export market, the report highlighted the positive outlook for Australian grain to supply markets across Asia, and the benefits of the free trade agreement with Indonesia.