Australia grains industry gets double boost

Australia's grains industry received a double fillip as it won a 350,000-tonne wheat order from Iraq, while Western Australian production received an upgrade from CBH Group, which claimed record crop receivals.

Australian wheat undercut offers from Canada and the US to win the order from Iraq's state grain board, which paid between $339.70-346.90 a tonne for the grain, on a c&f basis.

The lowest tender for US wheat was for $358.87 a tonne, with Canadian wheat offered at $361.05 a tonne.

The announcement came shortly before CHB Group, which handles the great majority of crops in Western Australia, raised by 1.4m tonnes to a record 15.2m tonnes its forecast for grain receipts in the country's top wheat-growing state.

"We were not expecting anything as large as this," a CBH spokesperson told

'Biggest harvest in history'

"Western Australian growers have delivered the biggest harvest in history, today surpassing the 15.06m-tonne haul in 2011-12," a statement from CBH said.

CBH grain receivals, compared with (Abares estimates for Western Australia winter crop production)

2012-13: 9.1m tonnes, (11.088m tonnes)

2011-12: 15.1m tonnes, (16.599m tonnes)

2010-11: 6.5m tonnes, (8.045m tonnes)

2009-10: 11.1m tonnes, (12.944m tonnes)

2008-09: 12.3m tonnes, (13.786m tonnes)

2007-08: 8.5m tonnes, (10.762m tonnes)

Some harvesting still remains to be done in the Albany and Kwinana zones, expected to take the total receivals to the 15.2m-tonne total.

While this is only 100,000 tonnes larger than the figure that Abares, the official Australian commodities bureau, has factored in for the total Western Australia winter crop harvest, the fact that CBH does not scoop all volumes means that the state's overall figure will be significantly bigger.

Typically, CBH grain receivals fall some 1.5m-2m tonnes short of the Abares total for winter crops, including the likes of peas and lupins, with some supplies staying on farm, often to be fed to livestock, or bought directly by domestic users, such as feed or seed companies.

Western Australia's biggest recent winter crop harvest the country is only a tiny producer of spring crops such as corn - was of 16.677m tonnes in 2003-04, according to Abares.

Export split

CBH said that the extra grains would be used to swell its export programme - which is directly largely at Middle East countries.

Middle Eastern and African countries between them account for 40% of its volumes, the same as shipped to South East Asia, with 10% going to North Asia, 6% to Japan and the balance to other destinations and for domestic use.

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