CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA — The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) announced on Feb. 28 that at the end of January 2011 Australia's bulk storage of wheat grain was estimated at 22.2 million tonnes, which was an increase of 4 million tonnes from the amount stored at the same time in December.

Extensive flooding began in late December 2010 in Queensland and was more extensive in both Queensland and other states in January 2011. It is expected that the impact of these floods will be reflected over the next few months, starting with January 2011 statistics.

Unfavorable harvest conditions contributed to both Queensland and Western Australia reporting decreases in stocks of wheat grain from December 2010, with falls of 67,000 tonnes and 581,000 tonnes respectively. All other states recorded increases in stocks of wheat grain in January 2011 compared to December 2010. At the end of January 2011, New South Wales had the highest amount of the wheat grain stored by bulk grain handlers with 7.8 million tonnes, followed by South Australia with 5.4 million tonnes.

The wet harvest season has resulted in a lower quality yield of wheat grain than in previous times. Of the total wheat grain stored by bulk grain handlers, milling grade accounted for 12.5 million tonnes (56%) and feed grade accounted for 9.7 million tonnes (44%). This compares to 86% milling grade and 14% feed grade in January 2010.