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In Focus: Winter Crops – NAB Wheat Production Forecast 2018

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Author | Phin Ziebell, Agribusiness Economist

Harvest is now underway for 2018-19 winter crop, a season which will likely go down as one of the most mixed in years. While eastern Australia has had a tough season, particularly in New South Wales and Queensland, Western Australia is on track for an above average season.

Our latest forecast for Australian wheat production is 16.9 million tonnes, down from 17.4 million tonnes in last month’s estimate. By state, Western Australia is forecast to produce 9.1 million tonnes of wheat, 108% of the 10 year average of 8.4 million tonnes. On the other hand, we forecast that New South Wales will only see 2.1 million tonnes of wheat this season – just over a quarter of the state’s 10 year average production amid the worst season in decades. South Australia and Victoria will see below average crops, but nowhere near as bad as New South Wales and Queensland. We see South Australia harvesting 3.0 million tonnes of wheat and Victoria 2.4 million tonnes.

Winter crop prices remain very elevated, although ASX wheat futures have come off their peak in the mid 400s range reached in late September. ASX wheat is now trading at around $415/t – still well above global benchmarks. East coast grain prices have probably found a ceiling at Western Australia prices (low-mid 300s) plus transport costs (in the order of $100/t), and the kinder summer outlook for the east will hopefully deliver better summer crops and pasture. However, should summer and autumn remain hot and dry, livestock producers in the east will need to have feed plans into spring 2019.

Source: NAB Group Economics, ABAR ES, Bureau of Meteorology, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Bloomberg and Profarmer.

In Focus: Winter Crops - NAB Wheat Production Forecast 2018


Seasonal conditions in eastern Australia remain generally mixed to poor, although October and early November have seen very respectable rain totals in many – but by no means all – areas. This is probably too late to do much for the winter crop in most areas, but is an upside for pasture and dryland summer crop prospects.

Overall, New South Wales and much of Queensland remain in drought. Big and sustained follow-ups will be needed to get back on track. Victoria and South Australia remain a mixed bag – some areas remain very dry but other districts (e.g. south-west Victoria) have enjoyed a good season. Western Australia remains the pick of the bunch as far as seasonal conditions are concerned.

The latest BoM three month outlook is – somewhat surprisingly given the 70% chance of El Nino – wetter than average for much of New South Wales and parts of Victoria. If Northern NSW receives good rain there could be an upside for sorghum, although that is a small (1-2 million tonne) crop that is unlikely to replace the shortfall of grain in eastern Australia at present.

Source: Bureau of Meteorology, ABARES, ABS  and NAB Group Economics

In Focus: Winter Crops - NAB Wheat Production Forecast 2018


This season has been very tough for crops in the eastern states, with NSW and Qld performing generally very poorly and SA and Vic looking somewhat better, but overall below average. October saw good rain in some areas, but it was probably too late for many. Given the late frosts, many cereal crops have already been cut for hay.

Domestic grain prices remain at extreme levels compared to international benchmarks, although they have fallen somewhat from their September peak just below $450/t to around $415/t now (ASX wheat).

East coast price grain prices have probably found a ceiling at Western Australia prices (low-mid 300s) plus transport costs (in the order of $100/t), and a good summer crop and pasture growth put some downward pressure on the market. That said, given that prices reflect strong feed demand in very challenging seasonal conditions in much of eastern Australia, any further dry conditions are likely to keep the pressure on. Feed could still easily be in short supply for many months to come. If there is a poor autumn break, we are looking at one year feed plans.

Source: NAB Group Economics, ABARES, Meat and Livestock Australia, Australian Pork, Ausmarket Consultants, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Bloomberg and Profarmer.

In Focus: Winter Crops - NAB Wheat Production Forecast 2018


In Focus: Winter Crops - NAB Wheat Production Forecast 2018

Important Notice

This document has been prepared by National Australia Bank Limited ABN 12 004 044 937 AFSL 230686 (“NAB”). Any advice contained in this document has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any advice in this document, NAB recommends that you consider whether the advice is appropriate for your circumstances.

NAB recommends that you obtain and consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or other disclosure document, before making any decision about a product including whether to acquire or to continue to hold it.


Trufab Grain King Nyrex chaser bin runner-up for global steel prize

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A CHASER bin from Australia has been recognised as a runner-up for the world’s most prestigious steel manufacturing prize.

The Nyrex chaser bin, manufactured by Trufab Global, also known by the brand Grain King, was one of three runners-up for the 2018 Swedish Steel Prize, announced at a ceremony held in Stockholm this week.

Trufab, chief executive officer, Colin Jorgensen, who attended the event, said the Nyrex chaser bin was a ground-breaking piece of equipment which allowed farmers to harvest grain more efficiently.

Mr Jorgensen said the company was delighted to be recognised as a world innovator.

“The Swedish Steel awards are incredibly prestigious and being recognised by them is a real honour,” he said.

“Our use of cutting edge technology, high quality materials and skilled labour means we are providing customers with innovative and intelligent solutions to increase their productivity and efficiency.”

Prize judges said the bin utilised high-strength steel that challenged traditional design by using modern materials to create the highest levels of performance.

In a company announcement, Trufab said a feature of the bin was a reduction in weight through the use of Strenx performance steel which made the Nyrex bins stronger, lighter, safer and longer lasting.

“The Nyrex Chaser bins use a Strenx product that is 25 per cent lighter than steel plate and provides a longer life than conventional bins,” it said.

“The light and extremely durable Strenx steel allows the bins to be made in a range of sizes and are being introduced to Australian grain farms.

“Reducing grain discharge times, energy use and minimising soil compaction.”

Trufab said the bins feature a modular design using almost no welding.

“Its assembly process uses laser technology in a bolted construction that avoids any distortion and rippling of the steel plate from welding, creating savings in time and energy.”

“The modular construction also helps reduce freight costs enabling the Nyrex Chaser bin to gain an international audience.”

The winner of the 2018 Swedish Steel Prize was Italian company, Mantella’s. Stratosphere 3.0 rear tipping semi-trailer.

The other two runners-up were a truck-mounted sky-lift from Italy and a cutter for clearing.

The story Chasing the prize first appeared on Farm Online.


The West – Trufab Global up for Swedish Steel Prize

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A small central Wheatbelt machinery manufacturing business is making its mark on the world stage by being short listed for an international award.

Cunderdin’s family-owned Trufab Global is Australia’s only finalist in the Swedish Steel Prize for 2018, to be announced in Stockholm on May 24.

For this prize, judges look for high-strength steel to be used in a way that challenges traditional design and creates the highest levels of performance.

Trufab’s nomination is for its new Nyrex Chaser bin, which features a modular design, using almost no welding.

The bins, manufactured from light and extremely durable Strenx steel, in a range of sizes, reduce grain discharge times and energy use, and minimise soil compaction on farms.

Trufab chief executive Colin Jorgensen said the Strenx steel product was 25 per cent lighter than steel plate.

He said the lighter bin meant it could be moved faster across paddocks. Meanwhile, its flexibility in design could better absorb the bumps and knocks associated with rough on-farm terrains.

Nyrex was designed by Trufab’s design engineer Greg Brown and manager Martin Trewarn, two years ago.

Since going into production in August 2017, 50 Nyrex bins have been sold and there are orders for a further 65. The company is about to start an interstate sales push.

Mr Jorgensen said its modular construction meant the Nyrex could be delivered in kit form, reducing freight costs and enabling Trufab to compete in the eastern states and international markets.

Other finalists include a truck-mounted sky-lift from Italy, a cutter for clearing roadside vegetation from Finland and a new lightweight trailer from Italy.

The story Wheatbelt bin maker Trufab Global up for Swedish Steel Prize first appeared on The West.


Floods of the Wheatbelt

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As you may have noticed the first part of 2017 left the Wheatbelt of Western Australia thoroughly saturated. Unfortunately a few lives were lost in the terrible flooding

The havoc included ruined roads, major gutters in paddocks, destroyed dams, and left people throughout Ravensthorpe stranded. The damage toll continues to climb as Shires throughout the Wheatbelt, Goldfields, and Gascoyne are scrambling to repair roads and keep residents safe.

Everyone is shocked and mystified by this extreme weather occurrence. And it made us wonder, how often does major flooding hit Western Australia?

The first on record was in 1830, but the most significant in early records was in 1862. This flood was a result of Wheatbelt rains that flooded the Avon-Swan catchment and destroyed lives, bridges, and farms. July 1926 again had significant damage, though flood waters did not peak as high as the 1862 floods.

In more recent times are the Moora floods of 1999, when extreme flooding swept through the town twice once early in the year and then again in May. The banks of the Moore river broke and caused the evacuation town residents.

Again in 2008 breaking a two year drought, farmers in the Midwest and Wheatbelt thought they were in for another flood similar to the 1999 floods. The rain was welcome for filling up tanks and dams, and while rivers did rise- they did not overtake the floodline of 1999.

Why were the floods of 2017 not as devastating as 1999?

A few reasons. The rain occurred in a different area and in a different frequency or time span, it is impossible to compare two weather events of this magnitude. However, it might be considered that the rise of no till farming allows for improved moisture absorption and minimising run off.