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Australian Drought May Result in Early Grain Imports for Cattle Feed

Drought and hail may put Australian wheat harvest even lower than estimates.

Grain imports in early 2008 are likely according to Jim Scudmore, vice president of the Australian Lot Feeders Association. He says even if it's just to supply the eastern seaboard to take pressure off upcountry stocks, it's bound to happen.

Scudmore says current expectations of the national wheat harvest may be too optimistic. Three weeks ago in Queensland's Darling Downs, where Scudmore manages a 10,000-head feedlot, wheat yields were looking the best they had been in nearly a decade. But a severe heat wave two weeks ago followed by hail and storm damage last week he says probably more than 30 percent of the Darling Downs crop has been lost. He says analysts haven't factored in that damage and the 12 million tons that most are predicting for the crop could end up overshooting actual harvest.

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