Australia expects a bumper crop for barley and other grains this year. The official figures of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) with a barley crop of 10.6 million tons seem far too low. International Grains Council (IGC) estimates the barley crop at 11.5 million tons, which might be still on the low side. The quality of the barley, which accounts for 18% of total Australian grain output, is also far above average. This will boost quantities available for export which are therefore expected to reach their highest levels since 1960 (7.4Mt, up 2Mt year on year) this year after a rather disappointing and problematic crop last year.
“Demand for malting grade barley is expected to be stronger over the year because of lower supplies from some other countries,” USDA’s Canberra bureau said.
With an increased share of the harvest likely to be classified as malt grade barley, export of malting barley could rise to 2 million tons. The weaker Australian dollar is also facilitating exports. Competitiveness of grain from down under on world markets will be much higher than in previous years.