Opportunities abound for Tasmanian grain growers - But sustainable growth must underpin long-term success

10 January 2023

By John Tuskin, General Manager, XLD Commodities

As we enter the 2023 Tasmanian harvest, it is a great time to reflect on how far the local cereal and oilseeds industry has come during the past five years. Although the growth is exciting, let’s not rest on our laurels as there are more opportunities in the offing for savvy grain growers

Prices for wheat, barley and canola are still trending upwards (see Figure 1) and there is still room in the market for Tasmanian rowers to take a bigger piece of the action.

With wheat and barley (malt and feed) accounting for more than 90 per cent of the Tasmanian crop, it is a good time to reflect on the opportunities this presents for local growers:

  • Wheat and barley prices are in the top 20 percentile of prices achieved during the past 40 years.
  • Market indicators suggest prices will remain strong.
  • Tasmania still imports more than 300,000 mt of grains per year.

Canola also continues to achieve record prices for Australian growers and our oilseed crop remains globally competitive. The volume of canola harvested has increased four-fold during the past five years.

Figure 1. Australian grain and oilseed prices (2014–22) Source: Bloomberg

Based on 2022 estimates, overall Tasmanian production of wheat, barley and canola has risen almost 50 per cent during the past five years.

Early forecasts for the coming season indicate further growth, with a potential combined crop exceeding 120,000 million tonnes (mt). Although some losses were recorded during the October–November rain events, at the time of writing (late November) there was evidence of high yields unaffected crops.

Growth in production across all three commodities (see Figure 2) is being met with increased demand from consumers:

  • Record dairy prices have seen increased demand for cereals
  • Record levels of investment in aquaculture has seen demand for protein grow.
  • Strong livestock prices have resulted in increased feeding, to ensure livestock are turned off at optimum times.
Figure 2. Tasmanian cereal and oilseed production (2014–25) Source: XLD Commodities.

Tasmania is now starting to export excess canola to the mainland and XLD has received several overseas enquiries for non-GM Canola.

The story is positive, and Tasmania’s goal must be to evolve from a net importer to a net exporter of cereals and oilseeds, but it will be crucial to grow production sustainably to meet demand. To be clear — if demand continues to grow, we must commit supplying market demand if we are to retain these markets over the long term.

Next question is, where are we going to store all this extra grain? Stay tuned!

Check out our latest edition of our Farming Tasmania magazine for more articles like this on