By Robert Hedge
In our last newsletter in December, I reported that Australian climatic conditions had been challenging. Unfortunately, these conditions continued throughout the Northern Hemisphere Summer and into Autumn.
Northern Australia remained dry, with cyclone after cyclone failing to really deliver on a typical wet season. We saw two cyclones pass over the Gulf of Carpentaria (Queensland) over the Christmas/New Year period, however it was not raining in the right places. That was until February, when North West Queensland was hit with a devastating flood, that resulted in the death of up to 500 000 drought weakened cattle. Some areas received their yearly annual rainfall in a week. These cattle didn’t drown, most of the deaths were as a result of the temperature dropping substantially after the rain, and with already weakened stock, pneumonia did most of the damage.
On a more positive note, Northern Australia did receive some very good soaking rain in March which was quite widespread. And another positive from the flooding, was that the floodwater from that rainfall event spread down through Central Australia, with the Channel Country now benefiting from such devastation further north.
Generally, the Southern Australian Mainland experienced a late break this year, with good rain received throughout the Mid North of South Australia, Eyre Peninsula (SA), Victoria, Southern & Central NSW, however there are still some isolated dry patches. Most areas have had an opening rain but will need more to get back on track. Irrigation water availability remains tight, with feed grain & hay prices remaining high. This is unlikely to change unless we get a very wet winter, due to the water catchments being so dry. The benefit being that annual temperate grass sales have been strong, as farmers chase quick feed for grazing, and to replenish fodder reserves, which has been aided by a mild start to Autumn favouring these types of production systems.
Tasmania & the South Eastern region of Western Australia experienced what we would consider a normal Autumn break, however some of the northern cropping regions in WA remain dry.
Local agricultural commodity markets in Australia remain strong, with high livestock prices, and consistent demand from some of our key international customers for red meat and live exports. And now with our Federal Election over, and the sitting party being returned for a further three years, there is renewed confidence in Australian agriculture sector due to consistent policy decisions.
Barenbrug will have representatives attending the ISF Congress being held in Nice from 3rd-5th of June, so please let us know if you would like to organise a meeting.
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Please do not hesitate to make contact should you have a specific requirement, and all the best for the selling season ahead.