Riverina farmers will have to live with any market effects from China's new 80 per cent barley import tax as the crops are already in the ground.
The Chinese government announced late on Monday night that Australian imports of the cereal grain, mainly used for brewing and animal feed, would face a nearly 80 per cent tax for five years.
Most of Australia's barley for China export is grown in WA but the NSW Farmers Association fears that the "deeply disappointing" tariff decision will push down prices due to increased domestic supply.
Riverina Co-op agronomist Nigel Clarke said farmer's in the region had already committed to their crops for the season.
"I don't think it is going to change anybody's planting decisions as most of our crops are in the ground so I guess we really can't react," he said.
"For most of my clients, the prices at sowing time rarely dictate the prices at harvest time to we don't really chase commodity prices or react to the market at sowing time.
"The reason we grow barley is based on good [soil and production management] rather than the price at sowing time...there is uncertainty but we can't react as most of the barley hit the ground early so I guess we're passive observers in the short term."
Mr Clarke said barley had been "typically a hedge against seasonal risk" in case of dry periods and was not expecting much of a change in the short term.
"Dry periods are becoming more the norm for us these days so it's hard not to have it in [crop] rotation," he said.
"We have done analysis over the past ten years and barley has probably been our most profitable crop and in that time there has been years when barley prices have been quite subdued but in the long term it has been profitable."
China began an investigation back in 2018 into claims Australia was 'dumping' cheap barley on the global market.
However the punishment decision comes amid a diplomatic standoff over Australia's call for an investigation into the coronavirus pandemic's original outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
The Riverina is also potentially exposed to other effects, with China's customs authority blocking imports from beef processors in other regions.
Teys Australia operates a meat processing plant just outside Wagga.
Corporate and industry affairs general manager John Langbridge said the situation in China was "clearly a concern for the industry but the current issues have had no effect on our business".
Wantabadgery farmer Tony Clough, who produces both barley and beef along with wool, said the dispute was a sign that Australia needed to become more "self-sufficient".
"We unfortunately rely so much on China to take our exports and that's a bit sad as they can dictate the terms and conditions, and that's what they are doing right now," he said.
"I think the only thing we can do as a country is reassess all our manufacturing industries because at the end of the day we have all the commodities so why are we exporting them all and buying them back with value added?"
Federal Trade Minister Simon Birmingham told the ABC that he expected many Australian businesses to "look at other markets" given the "risk profile" shown by China with its "unpredictable regulatory interventions".
Mr Clough said finding new international markets for Australian agricultural exports could not be done in the short term.
"It's all very well for Simon Birmingham to say 'find new markets', but it takes time," he said.
"We can't just rack up a new market overnight, it just doesn't happen like that whether it's the cattle market or the wool industry or what have you."
Senator Birmingham said Australia might appeal China's tariff decision via the World Trade Organisation.
In the meantime, Mr Clough said Riverina farmers were "concentrating on what we do best, and that's farming".
"We are good at what we do and we need to concentrate on producing our grain and our wool and our cattle and everything else," he said.
"Farmers are naturally hard workers and we do the best we can but we can't control markets."