MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA — AWB has increased its forecast pool returns for high quality noodle wheat after a very successful marketing mission to Asia, the company announced on Sept. 21.

All other grade forecasts for 2010-11 season wheat are holding steady, with market moves over the past two weeks offset by the stronger Australian currency.

AWB’s estimated pool return (EPR) for ANW1 noodle wheat is up A$10 a tonne to A$383 a tonne, while benchmark grade APW wheat in the Western Pool is steady on A$353 a tonne, and APW wheat in the Eastern Pool is A$345 a tonne (FOB, excl GST).

AWB’s General Manager Commodities Mitch Morison said his recent visits to customers in Asia confirmed keen interest in the Australian crop and in South Korea the ongoing requirement for supply of noodle wheat was constantly reinforced.

"While in South Korea we signed a large contract for supply of noodle wheat to key customers, which we will meet through a combination of last year’s crop and new season grain from growers in our early commitment program," Morison said. "This is a clear example of how beneficial early commitment is to us in making sales.

"Western Australia is facing a poorer season that is reducing production, so we are seeing significant interest from Asian buyers wanting a reputable and trusted noodle wheat marketer to give them confidence their requirements can be met.

"For wheat in general Australia has a freight advantage into Asia, although in recent years the competition from other exporting countries has been very strong.

"Every year is different and we are currently seeing greater interest in Australian wheat as the Canadian crop suffers from ongoing wet weather and harvest downgrades, so the performance of the Australian crop during spring is very important."

AWB has also announced it will close its early commitment premium (ECP) contracts at 5 p.m. on Sept. 27 for all port zones in South Australia, Victoria and the Port Kembla zone in New South Wales.

"Anyone who wants to capture our early commitment premium but is yet to act should call their local AWB grain marketer or our grower services hotline promptly, as this week will be their final opportunity for this season," Morison said.

"Growers have already signed up significant tonnages with AWB, generating confidence with offshore customers and desire to purchase from AWB, thanks to our ability to execute early positions; this means benefits right through the logistics chain.

"Our ECP contracts will be available in Western Australia for a little longer to give growers maximum flexibility, including for noodle wheat, although growers should still expect a closure announcement relatively soon."