Global Agriculture

Australia to export less wheat, more barley: USDA FAS

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03 July 2023, AU: The US Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Services (USDA FAS) has revised down its projection for Australian 2023-24 wheat exports, while raising slightly its forecast for barley exports.

The USDA FAS has revised Australian projected wheat exports for the 2023-24 marketing year (October-September) down by 2mn t from its previous estimate in April to 21mn t. This was partially driven by lower projected beginning stocks at 3.84mn t compared with 4.35mn t expected previously, following higher estimates for the country’s 2022-23 wheat exports at 31mn t, up by 1mn t from April’s projection (see chart).

The USDA FAS maintained its projection for Australia’s 2023-24 wheat production at 29mn t, in line with the official USDA forecast. This is 10pc higher than the previous 10-year average owing to large harvested areas — at 12.8mn hectares (ha) — and a good start to the planting season owing to strong soil moisture levels, but this is 10.7mn t below the current year’s output.

Wheat is likely to have taken preference over canola in planted acreages owing to price competitiveness compared with canola, a competing winter crop, the USDA FAS said.

In contrast, the USDA FAS has revised its forecast for Australia’s barley exports up by 500,000t to 5.5mn t in the 2023-24 marketing year (November-October) on uncertain Ukrainian export logistics and the expected reinstatement of trade flows with China. That said, this still represents a 2mn t year-on-year reduction owing to the projected drop in overall barley production to 10mn t from 14.14mn t in 2022-23.

Decreased barley planted areas — as farmers reintroduced fallow areas into rotation, preferring to plant wheat in available crop land — are projected to result in the 2023-24 harvested acreages dropping to 3.8mn ha from 4.13mn ha in 2022-23, according to the USDA FAS.

Australian wheat, barley production and export changes

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