CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA — High domestic grain prices could push China’s 2020-21 wheat imports to their highest level in 25 years, according to a Dec. 7 report from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES).

However, Australia wheat growers will likely not benefit from the situation due to ongoing trade tensions between the two countries, ABARES said.

China already has banned barley and a host of other products from Australia, which earlier this year called for investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 virus, which became a global pandemic after spreading from China. Tensions also are centered on Australia’s claim of a growing Chinese influence on its domestic affairs, which China has denied.

China is reportedly considering adding wheat to the list of banned commodities from Australia.

ABARES noted that Australia typically accounts for only about 10% of China’s wheat imports, adding that the US and the Black Sea region would likely pick up Australia’s import share if a ban is imposed.

In recent years, Australia has been China’s largest barley supplier. ABARES said Australian barley growers have been able to offset the loss of the Chinese market somewhat by diverting to other markets.