Bright season balances out COVID-19 pandemic woes

WELCOME RAIN: Derek Schoen of Killeneen," at Corowa near the NSW and Victorian border measured another 10.5mm of rain in the gauge on Saturday.

WELCOME RAIN: Derek Schoen of Killeneen," at Corowa near the NSW and Victorian border measured another 10.5mm of rain in the gauge on Saturday.

AGRICULTURE might be experiencing some market woes and logistical issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic but producers say seasonal conditions are the best in years.

Derek Schoen of "Killeneen," at Corowa measured another 10.5mm of rain in the gauge on Saturday, after the Friday night falls.

It came as a handy followup rain to further establish what he has described as the best season in the region for about 20 years.

"All of the crops are out of the ground ... they have all come up well and we have sown into moisture this year, which is a welcome novelty," he said.

In recent times to meet sowing windows crops have been planted into dry soil.

"We have sown crops dry for up to 10 years," he said.

The Corowa property has barley, canola, lupins and oats growing in the winter cropping program. These crops grow alongside beef cattle, sheep and lambs.

Mr Schoen said the livestock were looking fantastic at the moment.

The positive sentiment at a national level is also being felt with rural commentators calling the 2020 season a good one.

According to Rural Bank's Australian agriculture mid-year outlook 2020 improved rainfall is driving restocking for cattle and sheep producers, and increasing production of fruit and vegetables, milk, cereals, canola and wool.

However, the outlook for demand and price is mixed. For livestock producers, prices are expected to remain high for both cattle and sheep for the remainder of the year.

But in dairy and wool, weaker global markets are expected to lead to lower prices. The demand for wool is likely be affected by softer demand into 2021.

Rural Bank's chief operating officer, Will Rayner, said the agricultural outlook was broadly positive for the second half of the year.

He said looking at global markets, escalating trade tensions with China were an area of concern, particularly for broadacre croppers.

On the flip side, the ongoing protein shortage in China caused by African Swine Fever has led to an increase in demand for Australian red meat.

"Australia's reliance on China as an export market means that any change will significantly affect producers - both positively and negatively," he said.

These trade tensions are causing some to look at alternative export markets. The development of these alternative markets has the potential to reduce market concentration risk for Australian farmers.

"The improved seasonal conditions will help boost supply levels for nearly all commodities and while no one could have predicted a global pandemic, the back end of the year should prove increasingly positive despite continued global instability," Mr Rayner said.

RELATED COVERAGE: