With 95% of the crop exported, Australia is the world’s leading exporter of faba beans. The key market is the Middle East, where the faba bean is used as a common dietary staple. Australia competes with countries in the European Union for a share of this market.
Faba beans were first grown commercially for grain in South Australia in the early 1980s, they grow particularly well in higher rainfall regions and respond well to irrigation. The new-crop production is at 402,000t, up more than 70 per cent on last year’s crop. Yields range from 1 to 6 t per ha depending on spring rainfall.
Northern NSW is off to a fresh start, where trade sources estimate its crop could cover 30,000-60,000ha as the area recovers from three years of drought.
Packers in Victoria had been paying around $550-$570/t last month, but the market plummeted around $50/t on thin demand to bring it into line with new-crop values.
Some growers and traders are still believed to be holding some old-crop faba beans, and they have traded recently at more than $700/t.
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