THE crippling drought has significantly reduced Australian wheat export volumes in South-East Asia according to a grains expert.
South-East Asian grains expert, Oscar Tjakra, was at Berrigan on Tuesday to give a presentation to local farmers which highlighted the expected growth trends in demand for grains and oilseed in the Asian market.
About 30 farmers attended the presentation.
Australia's market share is under pressure from rising competition from lower-cost suppliers.
While South-East Asia poses strong growth prospects for wheat demand, it is firmly in the sights of competitor Black Sea (Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan) wheat exporters.
The Black Sea suppliers have ramped up their export programs to the region.
Recently, Argentina, have also been targeting exports into South-East Asia.
Mr Tjakra said the drought in eastern Australia had seen other countries fill Australia's supply deficit.
"Indonesia, which usually takes around four to five million tonnes of Australia's wheat, has booked in a large wheat shipment from Argentina of about one million tonnes for delivery in the first half of 2019," Mr Tjakra said.
"That will be their largest volume on record for this period."
Mr Tjakra said while Argentina had exported into South-East Asia previously, he warned this shipment paved the way for it to gain market share in the future.
"The Black Sea region poses as the biggest threat to Australia's market share in South-East Asia," he said.
"With Australia's share of South-East Asian wheat imports falling from 50 per cent in 2011, to around 40 per cent in recent years.
"And this year it could drop to 30 to 35 per cent, with drought-reduced volumes."
Mr Tjakra said there are strong growth opportunities for Australian feed wheat and potentially feed barley and sorghum, in light of the recent trade agreement with Indonesia.
Wheat demand in South-East Asia is expected to rise by three per cent per year - an increase of four million tonnes by 2023.
"This is a region that is already home to 650 million people, with a combined GDP of USD 2.8 trillion," he said.
"And it is on track to become the fourth-largest economy in the world by 2030 after the US, China and EU."
Buraja farmer Alistair Robb attended the presentation and found it to be highly beneficial.
"Unless it rains, it's pie in the sky stuff, but if it rains and we get a normal season it becomes valuable information," Mr Robb said.
"Rabobank held the presentation and have got their ear to the ground on stuff that your average farmer can't possibly follow.
"The information was good and seemed up to the minute to me.
"As far as changes to how I'm going to run the farm, it won't have a lot of impact except to say I'm wary of the way grain prices are heading.
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