Saturday, October 1, 2022

Rising grain market prices pose ‘moral conflict’ for Australian farmers

Global wheat prices peaked at record levels last week, with the Russian invasion of Ukraine impacting grain exports from the Black Sea for the foreseeable future.

But what does this mean for Australian farmers?

Although the Australian wheat price has not risen to the same extent, there has been a significant upswing with the crop selling for close to $400 a tonne.

Ariah Park grain grower Matthew Dart said it was difficult to justify the windfalls to be made on the rising market keeping in mind the human impact of war.

“You’re trying to make economic decisions … and then you think of the reality of this situation, and you think does that really matter.”

A woman and man stand with their two children in front of a piece of machinery.
Ariah Park grain grower Matthew Dart (right) says the human toll of war is front of his mind. ,Supplied,

Prices rise for rain-damaged grain

He said he was able to sell some of their feed quality wheat from last year’s wet harvest at escalated prices.

But he was wary of locking in physical delivery wheat contracts for next season’s crop, despite the close to $400 a tonne prices on offer.

“While it’s certainly been a very wet summer and there’s a profile of moisture there … there’s still frost, mice, grasshoppers, wet harvests, all these things in front of us.”

Headers, trucks and tractors operate on wheat paddock near Inglestone, southern Queensland, October 2021.
Australian farmers have been able to sell rain-damaged grain for much better prices in recent weeks. ,ABC News: Nathan Morris,

Impossible to pick top of the market

Grain broker Machallie McCormack said she was seeing more interest in forward contracts than usual at this time of year due to the rise in prices.

“At this stage of the game, usually none of my growers are looking at forward selling,” Ms McCormack said.

“I would say I’ve had inquiries for maybe 10 per cent of my growers.”

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Nation World News Desk
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