Lebanon Emerges as 3rd Big Buyer of Australian Sorghum
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Queensland is the top region for Sorghum production in Australia. As of 2021, Sorghum production in Queensland was 1.07 MMT that, accounts for 65.39% of Australia’s Sorghum production, typically contributing over two-thirds of Australia’s overall Sorghum production, much of which is in southern Queensland. The top 5 regions (others are New South Wales, Victoria, Northern Territory, and Western Australia) account for 99.91% of it. Australia’s total Sorghum production was estimated at 1.64 MMT in 2021.
Around one-third of the national Sorghum crop is produced in northern New South Wales. In the main growing regions of southern Queensland and northern New South Wales, the main planting period is from October to December, with harvest generally between March and June. The parts of the north of the Sorghum growing regions of central Queensland have a warmer climate which allows a more excellent planting window, typically from September to as late as February, which gives this region a greater capacity to be more opportunistic with their planting program and improve their chances of a successful crop outcome. Sorghum planted area for MY 2021/2022 was around 620,000 hectares.
The FAS/Canberra Sorghum production forecast for MY 2022/23 is revised from the official USDA forecast of 1.6 MMT to 1.9 MMT after heavy winter rains. Harvested area is also revised to 600,000 hectares from the official USDA forecast of 550,000 hectares due to the expected favorable sub-surface moisture anticipated at planting from October 2022. The forecast yield at 3.17 MT per hectare is down from the estimated record 4.35 MT per hectare bumper crop in the previous MY 2021/22 but is still eight percent above the last 10-year average of 2.93 MT per hectare.
FAS/Canberra forecasts Sorghum consumption in MY 2022/23 at 510,000 MT, of which 500,000 MT is for Feed and Residual. The anticipated increased supply of Sorghum from the much improved MY 2021/22 harvest is expected to result in higher opening stocks in the forecast year. With this and the forecast of another good production year, there is an expectation that Sorghum prices may decline a little further to levels similar to or below that of feed wheat, attracting a slight improvement in domestic demand from the livestock feed sector. Stocks are forecast to remain stable at 385,000 MT in MY 2022/23 after being replenished in MY 2021/22, as production achieved the second highest level on record.
Australian Sorghum Trade
The FAS/Canberra Sorghum export forecast for MY 2022/23 is revised to 1.4 MMT from the official USDA forecast of 1.1 MMT. This is still 600,000 MT lower than the MY 2021/22 estimate, primarily due to a 750,000 MT forecast reduction in production. The rate of exports in the first three months of MY 2021/22 has been robust, with 620,000 MT exported. The strong early export resulted in FAS/Canberra’s Sorghum export estimate to be revised from the official USDA estimate by 100,000 MT to 2 MMT in MY 2021/22.
China is traditionally the major export destination of Australian Sorghum. For the first three months of MY 2021/22, China has continued this trend with 86 percent of overall exports. Japan also accounts for 11 percent of exports over this period. These two nations account for 97 percent of exports for the MY 2021/22 season, which was similar to the prior year.
According to Agflow data, Australia shipped 0.7 MMT of Sorghum to China in Jan-Nov 2022, followed by Japan (0.2 MMT) and Lebanon (0.05 MMT). Other minor importers are New Zealand, Malaysia, and Indonesia, each importing around 0.03MMT.
Other sources: USDA
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