Record Australian barley harvest on the cards

Australian barley exports are likely to reach their highest level on record in 2016/17, according to USDA sources

Barley production for Australia is now forecast up from the USDA’s current official estimate (10.6Mt), to 11Mt. This is due to favourable conditions boosting production in the majority of barley growing regions.

Exports are forecast at 7.4Mt this season, up 2Mt year-on-year and exports of malting barley, in particular, could rise by one third, to 2Mt, according to the current projections.

The better seasonal conditions have meant better quality at harvest, with an increased share of the harvest likely to be classified as malt grade barley.

Typically, two thirds of the barley produced in Australia is exported with usually half of this being feed barley, one third malting barley and the rest malt.

This season it is thought that demand for malting barley globally will be strong, with lower supplies from other countries.

Also, Australian exporters may be more competitive in markets in the Middle East, for example, Saudi Arabia has finalised a purchase contract of 1Mt of feed barley from Australia this season.

Better seasonal conditions this year have contributed to higher grain quality, with an increased share of the harvest likely to be classified as malt grade barley.

In addition, the weaker Australian dollar is facilitating exports of barley from that country to markets around the world. A case in point is the growing demand for Australian barley in China.

Australia is one of the world’s largest exporters of barley, usually accounting for around 30% of malting barley trade and around 20% of global feed barley trade.

Approximately 4m hectares of land are planted out in Australia annually with two-row barley varieties predominating.

Production is concentrated in the south and east of the country. Barley accounts for 18% of total Australian grain output.

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