Spitting chips over representaion

A NEW organisation that wants to formally represent potato growers must “step out of the shadows” and reveal its true identity, says Nationals Senator Barry O’Sullivan.
Nanjing Night Net

In a fiery statement to Fairfax Agricultural Media, Senator O’Sullivan demanded public transparency of the “unnamed” potato industry group and its membership.

He accused the group of lobbying to replace AusVeg as the $690 million potato industry’s eligible industry representative body – under federal legislation governing research and development spending – without proper public disclosure.

Fairfax Agricultural Media understands Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce has asked for submissions from the two groups vying for the potato industry’s representative role.

They’ve been asked to make final submissions by February 27 outlining their individual credentials based on structure; governance; financing arrangements; membership, and how they’re best-placed to benefit levy-payers.

Mr Joyce has also held private meetings relating to the issue and is expected to conduct due diligence in considering the two applications before making his final response mid-March.

The situation shares sharp similarities to the long-running rivalry between Grain Producers Australia (GPA) and GrainGrowers over the grains industry’s Representative Organisation role.

Currently, GPA has legislative oversight of the Grains Research and Development Corporation which has an annual budget of $180 million; combining grower levies and matching government funds.

But GrainGrowers has waged a long-running campaign to assume the legislated representative role and displace the grassroots-based GPA, citing greater financial grunt and membership numbers.

Senator O’Sullivan said he’d been contacted by multiple potato growers across Queensland recently who’d expressed frustration and anger at the lack of transparency attached to the budding potato industry lobby group’s dealings with government and industry.

He said the lobby group would never have credibility in the eyes of Australia’s 1088 potato growers – which it hoped to serve as the new eligible industry body (EIB) under federal regulations – if they did not reveal their identities, plans and motives before the review was concluded.

“This group is actively lobbying to represent our potato growers, yet they are not willing to tell these same growers who they are,” he said.

“I have had many individual growers contact me fearing this unidentified group are controlled by processors, supermarkets or a cohort of big growers.

“They are demanding that government does not consider this lobby group unless grassroots growers are provided with an opportunity to assess who the group consists of and what their motives are as well as see a plan detailing how it can fairly and equitably represent the interests of the broader potato industry.

“This group will never be trusted by growers unless it is open and transparent about who they are and what they hope to achieve.

“I don’t care if it is potatoes, bananas, widgets or lollipops – without transparency we have nothing – it is time for this group to come clean and face the industry.”

But Potato Processing Association of Australia (PPAA) chair Peter Hardman confirmed he was heading a group that’s making a business case to be the potato industry’s peak body, under federal regulations.

“We’re not challenging AusVeg at all or replacing AusVeg,” he said.

“We are putting up a business case, or submission to the minister that we were asked to do as part of the HAL (Horticulture Australia Limited) review which was completed about 6-months ago.

“HAL have a new structure now but at the time of the review the minister decided it was time the potato industry had their own peak body.”

Mr Hardman said he believed the potato industry was “bit splintered” and had a large supply chain that’s “not fully represented”.

“For an industry worth $690 million, we believe we should have a stand-alone peak body and not one diluted by being under AusVeg,” he said.

“We believe potatoes should be represented as a stand-alone industry and it’s certainly big enough.”

Mr Hardman said he’d seen Senator O’Sullivan’s media statement which made some incorrect claims about his group’s membership and intentions.

He said potato processors and growers are involved in the group but not supermarkets.

“We’re part of an alliance of concerned potato growers and industry groups but the supermarkets are not involved,” he said.

“There are growers of all sizes, big and small.

“Each state is represented and each sector of the potato industry is also represented; seed growers, process growers, and also fresh market growers so that covers the three sectors.”

Mr Hardman – who also works for Simplot Australia – said it was decided not to identify the entire group “because we did not believe it was in interests of our business case”.

“The reason why we’ve kept it reasonably quiet is because we want our business case that we’re putting forward to the minister to be valued on its own merits and the same for AusVeg,” he said.

“We don’t want to get into a political fight or game, which it looks like they (AusVeg) and some parliamentarians are trying to do.

“We don’t want to make it a political fight or in the (media) fight and we want our submission to stand on its merits.

“We hope the minister will make a decision on who will be the peak body for potatoes based on those two submissions and not because of lobbying by parliamentarians and others.”

Mr Hardman said the PPAA was a peak industry body that represented potato industry processors.

He said the potato industry was unique in that growers and processers all paid the same levy of 50 cents per tonne which contributed to R&D projects with matching government funding.

“We were a prescribed industry body when HAL was set up 18 years ago, similar to AusVeg, and others,” he said.

Asked how he rated his group’s chances of becoming the industry’s peak body, Mr Hardman said he only hoped for a fair hearing from Mr Joyce.

“We’d like to think the minister takes a fair view of both submissions,” he said.

“We’re making a statement that we’re going to be an organisation that’s transparent and consultative with our grower base and accountable.

“We’ll be working with the grass roots growers and will look for genuine input from growers into R&D projects because we don’t believe that’s been happening.”

AusVeg CEO Richard Mulcahy said his group had held cordial discussions with the Minister about the matter and was “not particularly concerned by a few people with grumbles, which exist in every agricultural industry, and has always been the case”.

“AusVeg is one of the most successful groups in all of agriculture,” he said.

“We remain focused on getting the best outcomes for our growers.”

At a recent public hearing of the federal senate inquiry into agricultural levies, Mr Mulcahy said AUSVEG was the national peak industry body representing the interests of approximately 9000 Australian vegetable and potato growers who pay national vegetable and potato levies.

He said the vegetable levy contribution from growers for the last year was $7.56 million received and matching a Commonwealth contribution of $7.7 million.

He said potatoes had a much smaller levy, with total income of $926,000 and the government contribution was $808,000.

“Other income was $25,000, giving a total of about $1.75 million,” he said.

Mulcahy said levy funding – which contributed to projects that would otherwise not receive the required attention or investment – was “a major factor in the continued health of our agricultural R&D sector”.

“The R&D projects funded through this system provide very real and significant returns not just at the farm gate but across the industry as a whole,” he said.

“The disbursement of the vegetable and potato levies is subject to strict governance arrangements which ensure accountability and transparency.”

Mr Mulcahy said the levy system was generally working but he believed there are probably too many industry bodies.

“We have 150 commodities yet there are other industries like chestnuts and persimmons that have one industry body for one commodity,” he said.

“It just does not seem administratively very efficient.

“There are 43 bodies in horticulture; I would think you could get away with six… but not 43.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Comments Off on Spitting chips over representaion more...

Sweet and sour side of Kandy

Sweet and sour side of Kandy Xavier Lane (left) and Marlowe Patch feed elephants at the Millennium Elephant park at Pinawella, Sri Lanka
Nanjing Night Net

Sri Lankans gather on the beach at Pitiwella on a public holiday

Sri Lankans gather on the beach at Pitiwella on a public holiday

Jude Lane on a Sri Lankan train

Talking to the locals at Colombo train station: Lleft to right) Jude Lane, Xavier Lane, Melinda McMillan and Ivy Lane.

Xavier Lane at the turtle sanctuary.

Ivy Lane learns to drive a tuk tuk.

Jude Lane on a Sri Lankan train.

TweetFacebookTRAVEL in Sri Lanka with children is not for the helicopter parent, but if you are willing to take some risks, hold on for the ride and let go of your anxiety, it is a great family destination.

I had visited Sri Lanka over the summer of 1994-95 as a 25-year-old backpacker. I spent six weeks at Hikkaduwa, en route to India. My memories were of an unspoilt coast with an incredible surf break.

In Sri Lanka, I thought I had found paradise with very few tourists due to a civil war raging in the north. A war, incidentally, I was oblivious to at the time.

Returning had me filled with curiosity about how much this country may have changed since the end of the war in 2009, and the impact its fledgling tourism industry may be having.

This trip would be very different; I would be taking my children, 9, 10 and 14. I was more than a little afraid. I bought travel insurance and hoped for the best. It was their first overseas travel experience and they could not wait.

There are no direct flights to the capital, Colombo. The most direct and cheapest route is via Kuala Lumpur. We arrived in Colombo after 18 hours in transit, exhausted and ready to sleep.

Our accommodation had been booked online. When we arrived no one at reception knew about it. There was confusion, phone calls, and eventually a room. The lodgings bore little resemblance to the pictures on the website. Exposed electrical wiring, windows that didn’t lock, shards of glass in sills as crime prevention, and a courtyard was filled with rubbish dropped from the floors above. My danger radar went into overdrive.

“Is this what Sri Lanka is going to be like, Mum?”

The next day, with another family from Australia, we made our way by minibus through Colombo’s congested streets, dodging people, tuk tuks and dogs, for the train to Kandy.

Rail is the best way to see this country. Red rattlers with opening windows weave their way along the golden coast and up into hill country. The trains are old and not clean, and packed to the rafters, but they are cheap, and quite an experience.

On board, hawkers walk the isles with snacks – masala vadai, spicy vegetable roti and deep fried prawns – served in old newspapers. I tried not to think about poisonous ink.

Beggars might ask for a few rupee in exchange for a song and the locals love to chat and find out where you come from. The children couldn’t believe the sights and sounds before them on the trains. But it’s the scenery that is breathtaking as the train climbs towards Kandy, the spiritual home of Buddhist community, capital of the former kingdom, and with a sacred lake at its centre.

We spent our first night in a clean, well run, family-owned lodge, where the children delighted at the sight of tiny squirrels darting up trees and monkeys roving across rooftops. And we enjoyed our first home-cooked Sri Lankan meal.

According to travel guides, there are three “must dos” in Kandy: the relic of the Buddha’s tooth, a traditional dancing show, and an elephant sanctuary.

If you visit the relic, purportedly one of the Buddha’s canine teeth, you’ll be charged the tourist rate, wait in a very long queue and weave your way at a snail’s pace up into an very hot attic for a glimpse, from afar, of the tooth, barely visible.

There are several places to see a traditional dance show, five nights a week. I thought it was lacklustre but the kids enjoyed it.

The real highlight was the Millennium Elephant Foundation, near Kandy. It’s home to eight rescued elephants, which the children fed, rode and washed.

But it was Kandy’s bustling street life that really captured their attention: markets, food stalls and women in colourful saris, even an organ grinder with a monkey on a street corner.

The children wanted to be out and among it constantly. But there were dangers: the traffic was crazy and our 14-year-old daughters attracted a lot of male attention.

Determined not to deny the children a full experience, I sat back feeling sick as they stuck their heads and limbs out of trains. When a tuk tuk rider offered to teach my younger two to drive in peak hour traffic, I let them and they loved it.

Frequently, we were the only foreign faces in the crowd, and the locals are curious. There are rip-offs and confidence tricks, but the people don’t yet have foreigner fatigue.

With children, the food was an issue. Everything in Sri Lanka is spicy, even when the cook assures you it is not. It was hard to find foods they could eat.

Outside Kandy, at Aladeniya, we spent four nights at an old whitewashed colonial home called The Mansion. Our arrival was quite British-in-India – we were met by young men in traditional dress bearing cool drinks and cold towels – and the massive rooms were decorated with colonial furniture. We were the only guests and enjoyed breakfast on the lawn and dinners in the courtyard. The food was fantastic. The children spent most of their time in the pool, which was, of course, unfenced. I read a book.

We went back to Colombo for sightseeing and shopping before retiring to a beachside villa at Pitiwella, near Galle, in the southern province. It was monsoon season, and we were blasted by winds and rains, but on the third day blue skies opened up. The surf was too rough to swim, but the pool was good. We made day trips into Galle’s historic fort area, where we shopped, enjoyed seafood and walked among colonial buildings and on the walls of the fort.

I took a day trip back to Hikkaduwa, which had been the cornerstone of my first trip. Sadly, the quiet beachside village had given way to cheap, ugly development. We tried to visit the tsunami museum, but for reasons that never became apparent our driver refused to take us. We had chosen not to stay at the beachside town of Unawatuna due to a bum steer from The Lonely Planet, which said it was over-developed. But when we visited, we discovered a beach protected from the monsoons, quaint streets, restaurants, cafes and a manageable level of tourism. We visited twice and the children finally got to swim in the Laccadive Sea.

On an afternoon trip to Kosgoda Turtle Sanctuary, the children learnt about the breeding program, toured the facility, and at sunset released baby turtles into the ocean. We finished up in luxury at the Hilton Colombo, where they soaked up hours of television, even though it was not in English, and enjoyed the plush rooms, room service and a huge pool.

On our last night we toured Colombo atop an open-roofed double decker London bus. We narrowly missed colliding with overhead wires, but made it back alive.

Sri Lanka was hard work with children. I had one goal: keep them alive. But they were blind to my fear, and experienced a culture unlike anything at home. It opened their eyes to another world and another way.

Comments Off on Sweet and sour side of Kandy more...

How would Jason Day spend $10 million?

Some would splurge on a luxury car. Others would add to their investment portfolio. How would Jason Day spend $10 million? He’d get down to a local mall and pick up a few V-neck jumpers.
Nanjing Night Net

“I might buy a few more V-necks from Target, that’s what I usually do,” the Australian said, when asked what he might do with the epic payday that potentially awaits him in a few days’ time.

Then, asked

how he would describe his playing style, Day produced another killer quote that sums up why he is becoming one of the country’s most admired sporting figures..

“It’s like Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy had a baby – and I was it,” said Day, pointing out how his powerful ball-striking, or “length”, was comparable to that of world No.2 McIlroy, while his putting and chipping, “short game”, was comparable to that of world No.3 Spieth – golf’s new world order.

Day is so hot right now, he is even being ranked No.1 in the world for press conferences.

The PGA Tour’s media department have called the Spieth-McIlroy “love child comment” its quote of the year.

Day has the unwavering self-confidence – or “swagger” as the Americans call it – that you simply must have to become the world’s best golfer.

He didn’t even blink this week when described being “in the zone” right now, an American-ism sportspeople use for that magical mental state one enters and, once there, can do no wrong.

But that brashness does not define his public image (if fact it doesn’t even come close) because of the other side of Day – call it the “V-neck” effect – that portrays the humble qualities that make up a champion who has just as many kind words for those around him, as he does for himself.

His humility overpowers to the point where any cockiness that might unwittingly slip is endearing rather than jarring.

It’s why very few Australians would begrudge him possibly banking the biggest single-day payout a professional sportsperson from this country has ever seen.

Even though he is already a millionaire several times over – all up his career-earnings exceed $US28 million – we will be happy to see his him break the bank over and over.

Day has had some big days already this year.

But this Monday could be his biggest – maybe not in his eyes, but likely in those watching him back home in Australia.

Put simply, he could enter rare air. It’s not all about the money, clearly. But winning $16 million in one day (Australian dollars, that is) will create a lot of headlines back here and give him a unique place in our sporting history.

The $16 million bounty is the prize for becoming the first Australian to win the “FedEx Cup”.

The “grand final” for that end-of-season trophy is the last event of the PGA Tour – the “Tour Championship” – which starts on early Friday morning, Australian AEST, and ends early Monday.

Day cannot be the first Australian to win the Masters. He wanted to be, so much, and planned to scatter some of his father’s ashes at Augusta once he did to fulfil his dying wish.

He is world No.1 and Australia’s youngest ever, but he wasn’t the first, and we won’t know for a long time whether he can ever eclipse Greg Norman’s mark of 331 weeks as “the man”.

Those are the two achievements, winning a green jacket (which he hasn’t done yet) and becoming world No.1, Day holds closest to his chest.

He admitted this week that the money would probably “pop into his brain” (how could it not) but it’s never been what he plays for.

“I don’t really spend money, mate,” Day added to his “V-neck” comment.

“I mean I have some nice stuff. I might buy some new clothes because I’ve still got clothes five years old that I wear today. I am a very simple man. Just be able to put it away and save it.”

Yet it’s impossible for the Queenslander to know how big a story winning the FedEx Cup will be, for no one has done it in this country.

It does not have the history that makes the Masters so sacred. The concept of the FedEx Cup – golf’s version of the AFL premiership – was only introduced in 2007. But in time it will, and who knows how big its prestige might grow.

In terms of prizemoney – the $US10 million cheque handed to the winner is five times that of the Masters or any other of the other majors.

Looking back in 50 years’ time – when that $US10 million could be goodness knows how much – Day might think it neat he was the first Australian to climb this particular mountain. But first he must get there, and he will certainly need his swagger to swing it.

Part of the reason why the FedEx Cup does not sit at the same level as the majors in the Australian sporting public’s collective consciousness is the convoluted nature of its qualifying system.

Over the past three weeks, the world’s top 125 golfers have been cut to fields of 100 and then 70 over three “play-off” tournaments, leaving just 30 to contest this week’s Tour Championship.

Day has won two of those three events – The Barclays and the BMW Championship – amassing FedEx Cup points along the way that have ranked him No.1 in the standings.

He comes into this week on 6680 points, which is 2288 points more than his nearest rival, Spieth, and a seemingly insurmountable lead given the final event only offers a maximum of 2000 points for the winner.

However this is the kicker for Day. All points earned up to this week are actually wiped and then “reset” for the final event, based on each player’s final ranking.

It means Day’s No.1 position gives him the greatest chance of winning as compared to any of his 29 fellow competitors, but not an exclusive one.

Day will start the tournament at a “reset” points total of 2000, ahead of Spieth on 1800, Rickie Fowler on 1600, Henrik Stenson on 1440 and Bubba Watson on 1280 – the top five players in the standings who are close enough to snatch the cash from Day with a victory this week.

If none of those other four players actually win the event, the prime No.1 position essentially gives Day more scenarios in which he can to still finish on top of the standings – and claim the $US10 million bonus – should he also fail to win the Tour Championship.

For instance, Day can finish as low as 29th in the 30-player field and still win provided the right player wins for that to happen. Spieth, on the other hand, can only finish as low as sixth and still win provided all other placings fall his way. And so on.

Here are a few other need-to-know facts about the event that could become Jason’s biggest Day.

– The player who entered the Tour Championship ranked No. 1 – which Day has this year – has won the FedEx Cup three times out of eight times. No one has done it since Tiger Woods in 2009.

– Day would not be the first player to win two “play-off” events but not the FedEx Cup. McIlroy won the second and third lead-up events in 2012, but American Brandt Snedeker stole the big prize by winning the Tour Championship after solid placings in the other play-off events put him in the frame.

– Day would be the only player ever to win three out of the four play-off events if he were to add the Tour Championship to his wins at The Barclays and BMW Championship.

– A score of 13-under in the Tour Championship would elevate Day’s combined under-par score for the four play-off events to 60-under, which would beat Woods’ current record of 59-under set in the 2007 play-offs.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Comments Off on How would Jason Day spend $10 million? more...

National lamb supply surges

Supply surges with resumption of full trading weekNATIONAL lamb supply increased 76 per cent week-on-week, following last week’s shorter trading week, at 116,217 head, with all states except Tasmania yarding larger numbers.
Nanjing Night Net

National sheep supply jumped 92pc, to 61,823 head, with increased numbers in NSW, Victoria and Western Australia this week.

Heavy weight lambs well-supplied across NSW and VictoriaThere were large numbers of well-presented trade and heavy weight lambs penned at Tamworth, Bendigo and Ballarat this week. At Dubbo, there were some excellent lines of heavy weight lambs along with good numbers of well-finished Merinos, while trade weights were in limited supply.

Heavy and extra heavy weight lambs made up the majority of the offering at Forbes, while at Muchea, store and light weight drafts made up a large percentage of the yarding. Increased buyer activity at South Australian Livestock Exchange supported a dearer trend across all categories, with trade and processor demand creating strong competition for restockers.

At Bendigo, there were several runs of heavy crossbred ewes, along with well-presented Merino wethers and ewes. Medium and heavy weight lines were well supplied at Tamworth and Inverell.

Prices climb higherAt the close of Tuesday’s markets, the eastern states restocker lamb indicator increased 9¢ last week’s levels, on 555¢/kg cwt. Merino lambs were up 32¢ on 524¢, while light lambs jumped 21¢ on 553¢/kg cwt.

Trade lambs gained 23¢ on 568¢, and heavy lambs were 31¢ higher on 584¢/kg cwt. The mutton indicator finished 10¢ dearer on 358¢/kg cwt.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Comments Off on National lamb supply surges more...

Cattle throughput up 78pc

Numbers returnBY Wednesday, national throughput at National Livestock Reporting Service-reported saleyards had lifted 78 per cent to 52,241 head, on the back of a resumption of a full trading week following last week’s public holiday.
Nanjing Night Net

Throughput in Queensland lifted 38pc to 12,086 head, with the return of both Toowoomba sales and Roma Store lifting 700 head.

Numbers in NSW more than doubled to 21,745 head, with the return of Forbes, Tamworth and Wagga. Victorian cattle supply almost doubled to 13,641 head, with Ballarat and the Monday Pakenham sale returning and all other saleyards recording increased or steady throughput.

Yardings in South Australia doubled to 2535 head, while Western Australia eased slightly to 2019 head. Tasmania yarded 215 head, up 100 head week-on-week.

Feeder demand remainsLotfeeders continued to be the major yearling buyers at Warwick and lines experienced quality related price variations, while restockers showed strong interest in well-bred yearling steers.

At Roma Store, good numbers from the south-west and several consignments from the central-west parts of the state were yarded and prices remained high, trending either side of firm.

Feeder buyers, with some from northern NSW, dominated most yearling lines and pushed prices dearer at Wagga. Heavy grown steers were also keenly sought by lotfeeders and export processors and a SA processor drove the cow marker higher.

There was an increased number of heavy yearlings, suitable for the trade and feeder buyers, at Wodonga and interstate lotfeeders, joining the usual panel of buyers, drove prices dearer.

Prices edge higherAt the close of Tuesday’s markets, the Eastern Young Cattle Indicator was up 3.75¢ week-on-week, finishing at 451.25¢/kg cwt. Trade steers eased 6¢ on last week, averaging 230¢, while medium steers improved 1¢, averaging 217¢/kg.

Feeder steers were firm, averaging 247¢, while heavy steers improved 8¢, finishing at 237¢/kg. Medium cows averaged 197¢, up 6¢/kg week-on-week.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Comments Off on Cattle throughput up 78pc more...

Nufarm slashes Euro operations

HOT on the heels of Doug Rathbone’s departure as Nufarm long-running managing director, the crop protection company has announced major cuts to its European manufacturing activities.
Nanjing Night Net

Mr Rathbone had led the company for 15 years. He will receive a termination payment of $1,643,193 plus statutory entitlements. A search is already underway for his replacement, said chairman Don McGauchie, with group executive for commercial operations, Greg Hunt appointed chief operating officer and acting CEO.

Mr McGauchie yesterday reiterated the company’s “aggressive” plan to rein in costs, announcing a $100 million cost reduction program alongside a separate program to reduce working capital.

In the past two years Nufarm’s ­earnings have been battered by severe dry weather in Australia.

“The changes will result in a more efficient manufacturing base in Europe and will improve our competitiveness on a global basis”Closure of the manufacturing plant in The Netherlands and efficiency programs in France and the UK are proposed to shave about $23 million a year from Nufarm’s business costs.

The rationalisation will involve one-off restructuring costs of about $44m and will take place in the next 18 months.

It follows a similar re-organisation of Nufarm’s Australian and New Zealand manufacturing businesses last year, which involves cutting six production site down to three.

Plants at Otahuhu in NZ and Lytton in Brisbane will close before June 2016 and the Welshpool site in Western Australia closed at Christmas, to achieve annual savings of about $16m.

In Europe Nufarm is aiming to slash unit costs of one of its most important herbicide products, MCPA, as well as several other crop chemical products distributed globally.

“The changes will result in a more efficient manufacturing base in Europe and will improve our competitiveness on a global basis as well as reduce supply chain complexity,” said operations group executive, Elbert Prado.

The move was in support of efforts to improve the herbicide, pesticide and fungicide company’s working capital across its global network.

Capacity at the Wyke plant near Bradford in Yorkshire and Gaillon in France will be increased to compensate for the closure at Botlek in Holland, which will involve the loss of 50 jobs.

Nufarm’s European executive general manager, Hugo Schweers said the commitment to increase capacity in Wyke and Gaillon would support strong growth in the company’s European business brands in coming years.

“We will strengthen our capabilities and capacity in key product areas including insecticides and fungicides as we continue to expand our presence in European markets,” he said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Comments Off on Nufarm slashes Euro operations more...

WA drags national crop up

WESTERN Australia bucked the trend of lower than average production for 2014-15, with State bulk handler CBH recording its fourth biggest year of receivals on record.
Nanjing Night Net

The surprisingly good performance in the west was critical in dragging national crop production for 2014-15 to near average levels.

CBH general manager of operations David Capper said WA growers delivered 13.52 million tonnes into his company’s network this season.

He said this figure was higher than expected, especially considering some areas had issues with a dry spring and others faced losses due to heavy harvest rain.

WA Farmers grains section president Kim Simpson said the production was a good result.

“There was obviously a fairly wide area that did have a good year, although there were people who did miss out, but it balanced out to be a fairly substantial harvest, although not as big as the year before.”

Mr Simpson said a key reason behind the production gains over the past few years had been a substantial increase in acreage in potentially high yielding areas.

“The more marginal areas have had their problems, but where we have seen the big changes is in traditionally grazing areas.

“With the good prices over the last few years, many have made the decision to switch some land from grazing to cropping.

“It’s important to overall production, because it is in the higher rainfall areas where they can grow big amounts of grain.”

Mr Capper said the harvest was about 3mt more than CBH’s 10 year average.

He said the run of good years would mean CBH is now cashed up to embark on a large capital expenditure program.

“To have had three above average crops over the past four years, that has given us the opportunity to invest in both maintenance and upgrade the network,” he said.

He said the most significant upgrade last year was a $15 million upgrade at Esperance, bringing in automated sampling spears and the ability to sample and weigh at the same time, speeding up turnaround times.

The harvest itself was one of the longest on record with rain events holding up proceedings and some growers still delivering small quantities of grain in the Esperance and Albany zones.

Mr Capper said other challenges this year were created by the closure of Tier 3 rail lines by Brookfield Rail, forcing CBH to outload the previous year’s record harvest via road before this year’s receivals began.

CBH and Brookfield Rail are currently undergoing negotiations for future rail access through the Economic Regulation Authority.

CBH is now entering a heavy export program until April and Mr Capper said he expected work to start on a new CBH Albany site in the coming weeks once final approvals were received.

Mr Simpson said there would potentially be a small drop in WA acreage for the 2015-16 if there was no late summer rain in reaction to both falling grain prices and rising livestock prices.

However, he said he did not think it would be a dramatic change in planting size.

“There may be some small changes, but those guys who have got out of livestock will probably struggle to get back in, given store livestock prices at present, and the vast majority of the area planted is locked in year after year.

“A lot depends on the next two or three months, if we can get the tail-end of a cyclone and get some soaking rain to put moisture into the profile leading into the 2015 plant.

“If we can get a good summer rain, it sets us up with the potential for a big crop.”

He said different parts of the State had recorded different standout crops.

“In the dry areas, it was the cereals that were better, as you would expect, but we also had some reports of very good yields in canola in areas with a bit better spring.”

He said the vast majority of the State’s crop was in the CBH network.

“There’s been a couple of loads go out through Bunge’s Bunbury terminal and there is some grain on-farm, but not a lot.

“The grain stored on-farm will mainly be by mixed farmers looking to store some feed grain in case of a dry autumn.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Comments Off on WA drags national crop up more...

ACCC ‘out of touch’ on JBS, says Williams

NSW Nationals Senator John Williams is seething at the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) decision to not oppose the takeover of the Primo Group by JBS Australia.
Nanjing Night Net

In a strongly worded statement today, Senator Williams accused the ACCC of being out of touch with market reality.

The decision is likely to cause headaches for the Nationals and Coalition government facing under increasing pressure to implement reforms that will alleviate pressures on livestock producers from constricted supply chain competition.

Senator Williams said the ACCC’s decision to not oppose the proposed $1.45 billion acquisition of Primo was “very disappointing in my opinion”.

He said as part of the review process, he lodged submissions on behalf of concerned people in the livestock industry and their “common worry” was that the takeover would lessen competition at the saleyards.

Read more: ACCC green lights JBS takeover

Senator Williams said the ACCC agreed there was “some lessening” of competition – but then claims “it is not a substantial lessening”.

He said the ACCC also claimed Primo wasn’t a strong competitive restraint on JBS and tried to justify the distance of more than 500 kilometres between Primo’s Scone abattoir and JBS’s Queensland abattoirs to support its case.

“This is out of touch with reality because cattle can and are transported many hundreds, even thousands of kilometres,” he said.

“I find it confusing that on one hand the ACCC will not oppose this acquisition, yet in the next breath says it is wary of the potential impact of the further consolidation of abattoirs.

“If that is true, why didn’t it act in this instance?

“From talking with farmers and those in the livestock selling industry I know this decision will be met with dismay and only time will tell whether it is right.”

Keeping an eye on future bidsThe ACCC received submissions from “a range of interested parties”, who expressed concern that the proposed acquisition would result in less competition in the fat cattle market in northern NSW and Queensland.

Farmers and meat retailers are increasingly frustrated by consolidation of meat processing activities which are limiting the choice of independent meatworks bidding for livestock or offering service kill options to producers or butchers.

“The ACCC undertook a detailed assessment and determined that Primo is currently not a strong competitive constraint on JBS,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.

“Furthermore, the increase in market share as a result of the proposed acquisition would be relatively small and JBS would continue to be constrained in the market for the acquisition of fat cattle by a number of alternative abattoirs and supermarket chains, in the northern NSW and southern Queensland region.”

While the ACCC determined that, in this instance, the proposed acquisition would be unlikely to raise significant competition concerns, the watchdog is wary of the potential impact of further consolidation of abattoirs.

“The ACCC will continue to monitor this industry and any future acquisitions will face additional scrutiny,” Mr Sims said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Comments Off on ACCC ‘out of touch’ on JBS, says Williams more...

Mutton market makes milestone

PRODUCERS are weighing up their “keep or kill” options with their older sheep to best capitalise on the burgeoning mutton and lamb markets.
Nanjing Night Net

This has resulted in a reduction of the number of restocker sheep numbers at sales across the country and increased competition from processors looking to secure mutton.

According to Meat and Livestock Australia’s (MLA) National Livestock Reporting Service (NLRS) the mutton indicator has hit its highest point since last July, reaching 357c a kilogram carcase weight (cwt) last week.

Statistics from MLA show the sheep slaughter for 2015 so far is back 25 per cent year-on-year for the January period, at 123,485 head per week, following what was the second consecutive year of over nine million head of sheep slaughtered.

MLA anticipated the relatively strong lamb prices of 2014 would continue into 2015, which would likely result in a dramatic year-on-year drop in sheep slaughter as the year progressed, as producers aim to maximise lamb production- albeit dependent on seasonal conditions.

Punters have tipped the mutton indicator will continue to rise as supply was anticipated to slow.

Meat market bolstering wool enterprisesIn the NSW market, Landmark Bombala livestock manager Justin Lewis said numbers at the Bombala district circuit sale were back about 6000 head last Wednesday, compared to the usual 17,000 to 18,000 surplus ewes and wethers that were usually offered at the sale.

“We had 11,430 sheep, which was well back on usual because the season has been so good,” Mr Lewis said.

He said a couple of the sales regular vendors had bought more land elsewhere in the last 12 months and had held onto to surplus sheep to stock those properties.

Mr Lewis said processors were at the sale but hardly got a look-in due to strong restocker demand.

“The processors could only buy about 500, seven-and-a-half year old ewes as the restockers didn’t want those,” he said.

Mr Lewis said ewe numbers in the Bombala district had remained static for at least four years now due to the run of good seasons and producers were trying to hold onto as many stock as possible.

Local restocker competition was also bolstered by the district receiving 35 millimetres of rain in the 10 days leading up to the sale, as did the reduced yarding contribute to very solid prices for both ewes and wethers.

Four-and-half year old Merino ewes topped $143, five-and-a-half year old ewes sold to $130 and six-and-a-half year old Merino ewes sold for $106.

Mr Lewis said older ewes and wethers sold by clients direct to the processor over the last month had returned a solid $80 average.

He said there was no doubt the meat side of the sheep job was holding up wool enterprises at present.

Strong restocker competitionWhilst the availability of older sheep was tightening, Thomas Foods International (TFI) livestock manager, Paul Leonard, Murray Bridge, South Australia, said TFI was currently processing its usual number of sheep at present – 5000 sheep a day at Murray Bridge and 3000 a day at Wollongarra, Queensland.

He said there was strong restocker competition in the yards.

“Restockers are even competing for seven-and-a-half year old sheep as the five-and-a-half year old and six-and-a-half year old sheep are not in the market as people are holding onto them,” he said.

However, Mr Leonard said he would much rather producers hold onto their older sheep and breed on with them than exit the sheep and lamb industry.

“Ultimately lamb is our main product as mutton is a by-product, so the more ewes producers are keeping the more lambs they are producing,” he said.

Mr Leonard said TFI were currently meeting the requirements of their international mutton markets.

“We aren’t going to run out of sheep, as sheep numbers recover so quickly, especially is these periods when people hold onto them numbers rebuild fast,” Mr Leonard said.

Mr Leonard anticipated mutton prices would remain consistently strong for the next three years- with the mutton price currently about 40pc higher than it was at this same time last year.

“Both mutton and lamb will be at a premium for the next two to three years,” he said.

“Demand from China and India for agricultural protein will also auger well for the mutton and lamb industry.”

Ewes in demandBarellan livestock agent, Mark Flagg, Flagg Livestock and Property, anticipated there could be a premium paid for scanned-in-lamb (SIL) first cross ewes at the annual Barellan first cross ewe today.

Mr Flagg said buying the SIL units was a good opportunity for restockers to replenish their ewe flocks and also make a speedy return on investment from the buoyant lamb market.

He expected local restockers would be competitive at the sale as there was a lot of lucerne feed about the district at the moment as they had received above average summer rainfall.

Mr Flagg, who also operates as a selling agent at the Griffith prime sale, expected the sale would be firmer than last year and ewe prices would make between $170 and $250. He expected Merino ewe numbers, suitable for the mutton trade, would dwindle.

“Traditionally ewe numbers ease as we move into winter and I expect this year we should see the mutton price kick on as we struggle to get the older Merino ewe number through,” he said.

GJ Hulm livestock agent, Isaac Hill, Wagga Wagga, said sheep numbers were holding consistent week-on-week at the Wagga prime market at the moment, but mutton numbers were a lot lower compared to other years at this time.

He said 95 per cent of the sheep at Wagga yards were bought by processors at the moment.

“There is a real even spread between the processors taking mutton, which is unusual, normally there is one processor in particular that is firing,” Mr Hill said.

“I think processors have adequate supply at the moment, but by the end of March they will have to compete a lot harder as supply tapers off,” he said.

Presently 7000 to 11,000 sheep were yarded weekly at Wagga.

Mr Hill said producers were happy with the money their surplus caste-for-age ewes were returning.

“The mutton market has been very good for 18 months to two years, while we have seen it dearer; it’s pretty solid with where it is just at the moment.”

Rain boosts stock conditionQuality wise, Mr Hill said the sheep couldn’t be in better condition as they had come off stubbles or summer grasses that had benefited from recent rain.

He said some producers had also opted to hold onto their older ewes for another year to get an extra lamb out of while lamb prices were solid.

Quade Moncrieff Livestock and Property director, Paul Quade, West Wyalong, said processors were forced to compete with strong restocker demand for older at the West Wyalong store sheep sale this week as there was plentiful supply of feed across the region.

“A lot of local producers received 100mm of rain in January – we usually get 20mm of rain in January – so many were looking to utilise the feed they have with some extra stock,” he said.

He said for that reason, good summer rain, a few vendors have opted to hold onto their stock.

Most of the 8000 sheep offered were in good condition as they had been on lucerne and quality summer grasses.

Mr Quade said some producers had already sold suitable older sheep at prime sales at Wagga, Forbes and Griffith, as well as direct to the processor in the last fortnight.

A client received $90 to $100 for six-and-a-half year old Merino ewes at Griffith and another client bagged $122 for three-year-old Merino wethers they sold to processor Fletcher’s International at Dubbo.

“I expected a strong market on sale day given how strong slaughter prices are,” Mr Quade said.

Butt Livestock and Property director, Phil Butt, Yass, said due to the strong mutton price there would be far less six-and-a-half year old and seven-and-a-half year old Merino ewes in the Yass circuit sale today.

“A lot of producers have been selling their older ewe over the last 12 months as the mutton slaughter price has been strong,” he said.

Mr Butt said the ewe shortage was not just limited to the mutton market.

“I think there will be a shortage of ewes in general on the market this year and this is already happening in the mutton market,” he said.

He producers in the Yass district weren’t holding onto surplus breeders and were operating their usual turnover programs.

Mr Butt expected prices for older ewes to be double that of last year’s sale at this time.

“For the past two years older ewes have been making about $65 at this sale, but I think to secure ewes people will have to be prepared a higher price – double last year’s prices,” he said.

Mr Butt said the Yass district has experienced a good 12 months seasonally and sheep would be 7-8kg heavier than this time last year.

He said 95pc of one-year-old ewes were at joinable weights, whereas they weren’t at that level last year.

There will be 7700 sheep offered at the sale, back on the 9000 head offered last year, mainly due to producers already selling Merino wethers direct to the processor or holding onto them.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Comments Off on Mutton market makes milestone more...

Can the Basin Plan deliver?

Neil Andrew and Bob Baldwin with SRI chair John Bradford.CONJECTURE is mounting in farming communities over whether the Murray-Darling Basin Plan can deliver its promised environmental water flows efficiently, without causing impacts from excessive flooding.
Nanjing Night Net

Stakeholders raised grievances about that vital aspect of the Basin Plan’s implementation with new Parliamentary Secretary to the Environment Minister Bob Baldwin in a series of introductory meetings held this week in key Basin States.

Mr Baldwin was joined on the four-day tour by Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) chair and former South Australian Liberal MP Neil Andrew, who started his new appointment on February 1.

On Monday, the delegation flew from Canberra over the Snowy Mountain water catchment scheme and Dartmouth Dam into Shepparton, Victoria, for engagements with irrigators and industry stakeholders, including on-farm talks.

The following day at Deniliquin, NSW, they toured various water delivery and irrigation projects where Mr Baldwin announced $100 million funding for private irrigation operators.

Participants in the Deniliquin leg included officials from the National Irrigators Council, NSW Irrigators Council, Department of Environment, MDBA, Murray Irrigation Limited, Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder (CEWH) and Southern Riverina Irrigators.

On Wednesday, the delegation met with farmers near Mildura in Victoria to check out more water efficiency projects before moving onto South Australia the following day to tour the Lower Lakes region.

Extra SDLs an issueThe Basin Plan was signed into law in late 2012 underpinned by a basic target of 2750 gigalitres in Sustainable Diversion Limits (SDLs) – although not signed by the NSW and Queensland governments until February 2014.

A last minute political manoeuvre by the former federal Labor government to appease their SA counterparts in 2012 amended the Water Act to inject an additional 450GL in SDLs, accompanied by a $1.75 billion federal government grant.

The added SDLs will be achieved by removing constraints in the river system through a $200 million allocation, with the remaining $1.55b going to water efficiency projects, most likely on-farm, to recover environmental water.

In his speech at the National Press Club in Canberra, after signing the Basin Plan into law, then Water Minister Tony Burke said the final 450GL – held water by the CEWH – would be gained by removing the constraints with no “downside” in terms of the Basin Plan’s social and economic outcomes.

But he said the 450GL would have “a massive, massive upside for the environmental outcomes”.

Mr Burke said the 2750GL met 11 of the 18 different river flow targets within the Murray – but removing the constraints to deliver that 450GL would see 17 out of 18 flow targets reached.

“Those constraints are things like river rules that prevent you from releasing dam water beyond certain levels, channels where if you try to put more water than the capacity of a channel allows, instead of the water going down the system it just goes out,” he said.

However, more than two years later, the Constraints Management Strategy (CMS) which underpins the 450GL delivery program remains a divisive issue angst amongst Basin stakeholders.

Flooding concern for farmersA key dilemma is how the $200m will be spent to ensure the Plan achieves its stated goals, without hurting or disrupting farm operations through excessive flooding that could also strand or kill livestock or deny feeding or damage private property, including crops.

It’s understood the ministerial council of State and federal water ministers doesn’t need to formally sign off on the CMS by mid-2016 – but the various governments must reach agreement one way or another, by that date, on the Authority’s final recommendations.

While there’s a general acceptance the $200m is insufficient, efforts are still being made to prioritise projects to achieve the best result for efficient delivery of SDLs.

MDBA officials are already engaged in ongoing consultations with community groups to finalise the CMS to deliver the 450GL without causing negative third party impacts.

Another potential hot spot for the MDBA to resolve with stakeholders is whether a flow of 80,000 megalitres a day in environmental watering requirements for the SA River Murray, can be achieved in the Basin Plan.

During the Deniliquin leg of the tour, MDBA river management executive director David Dreverman was quizzed by stakeholders about the Authority’s modelling on the additional water flows, but his responses failed to remove growing doubts.

Constrained by constraintsRicegrowers’ Association of Australia (RGA) president and chair of the National Farmers’ Federation water taskforce, Les Gordon accompanied Mr Baldwin’s delegation on Tuesday around Deniliquin.

Mr Gordon said the $200m allocated to the CMS was significantly short of the amount required, which government and MDBA officials were made aware of.

He said when considering the range of works needed to remove various constraints, including building bridges and other easements, in particular on private land throughout the system, the amount needed was “infinitely” more than $200m.

“A lot of water needs to come through a lot of little streams in this area and a lot of infrastructure and access is likely to be impacted,” he said.

Overall, Mr Gordon said the Basin Plan remained a “fairly divisive” issue amongst rural communities.

“A lot of people would still like to see it go away and a lot of people accept that it’s probably not going to go away,” he said.

Mr Gordon said those who accepted the Basin Plan was here to stay wanted it implemented in a cohesive way that protected their private assets and safeguarded the social and economic base of communities, like public infrastructure.

“These people are saying, ‘If you’re going to do this those assets need to be protected and we need to put some more robust processes in place to do that’,” he said.

“Every drop of water that goes out of productive agriculture into the environment will diminish returns to the broader community – there’s no doubt about that.

“But there’s a fairly widely held view now that you have a pool of water and it’s probably time to see if we can use it more effectively than we have in the past, and see how you do that before taking too much more away from farmers.”

A broad spectrum of issuesMr Baldwin said varying views and concerns did exist about the Basin Plan’s delivery, throughout the river system which, “always escalated in dry times”.

He said on Monday in Shepparton, stakeholders spoke about excessive water flows coming down the river and “perhaps flooding across the levy banks”.

“There is a broad spectrum of issues and they are different no matter if you’re in the north, or in the south or in the west,” he said.

“I’m listening to all those people; that’s why we’re embarking on a three-phase tour over a couple of months.

“This week we’re going down the Murray, the next trip will be down the Murrumbidgee and the next trip will be down the Darling.

“I intend to connect and engage with people out there on the ground; I’m that kind of guy. It’s a difficult area to work in because everyone feels that everyone else is against them.

“(But) if I had my way, I’d learn to do a rain dance and make it work and deliver rain on time.”

Liberal MP Sussan Ley, Farrer, said she believed the CMS had some inbuilt safeguards that would work, in terms delivering additional water levels, without creating adverse impacts on farm land and the community.

But she said stakeholders needed to be convinced the environmental watering plan would achieve its balanced objectives, with a win-win outcome for farmers and the environment “because the Basin Plan was premised on that working”.

Ms Ley said there would always be arguments over models for environmental water flows in the Basin Plan “and we accept that” but it was time to move on.

“There were models being talked about when I first represented this area in 2001,” she said.

“I think the time for modelling has past. I think the time for inquiries and reviews has past – that has been done to death.

“The implementation phase is where we’re up to now which is the most important.

“It’s where all of the theory and conversation hits the ground, so that just has to work.”

Forward commitmentMr Baldwin said, “everyone always claims they’re never listened to unless they get it their way”.

“There’s a Plan that’s been agreed to under the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA),” he said.

“That plan was formulated after a long period of consultation – it was swapped and changed on the way through – now is the time to deliver the Plan.”

But Mr Baldwin said, if irrigation groups or other stakeholders objected to key aspects of the Basin Plan, he was listening and they needed to point to specific examples of where it’s not working, “not just rhetoric”.

“Give me specifics we can act on, but generalisations don’t deliver outcomes,” he said.

“Show me where the error is and at least I can then review it.

“I might not agree with you but at least I can review it (but) ‘it’s not working’ just doesn’t cut the mustard.”

Mr Baldwin also dismissed concerns a change of government at the March NSW election and the outcome of the Queensland election could see a scenario where a federal Coalition government faced potentially four State Labor governments.

He said Liberal and Labor State governments they signed up to the IGA in a forward commitment.

“If they decide they want to chop and change, it’ll all fall over, we’ll pull our money back (and) money will be resumed by our treasury and finance, so it actually rests with State governments to actually work with us,” he said.

“We are the funder and the facilitator they are the enablers that will work on the ground – it’s up to State governments to deliver their side of the bargain.”

A bridge too farOn Tuesday, Mr Baldwin and Mr Andrew were taken to the Sandy Creek Bridge in the Wakool Shire, west of Deniliquin.

They were told the old wooden bridge – one of about 160 similar structures dotted on public and private property throughout the Shire – was considered a prime example of a constraint that must be considered for an upgrade in the CMS.

Currently, it has a 10 tonne weight limit, considered insufficient when the water level is raised or the river flooded to achieve environmental water flows, preventing local farmers or truck operators being able to access a lower-level easement nearby.

But if the bridge was upgraded and able to carry heavy farm machinery and other loads, local farmers could carry on business operations without undue or lengthy disruptions.

Roger Knight – a member of the Koondrook Perricoota Alliance local reference group – met with Mr Baldwin’s delegation and said it was “imperative” the bridge be replaced with a steel or concrete structure, whichever meets specified building requirements, to maintain regular landholder access, when such watering events are underway.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Comments Off on Can the Basin Plan deliver? more...

Strong market lifts EMI to 1101c

Photo: CSIROTHE largest weekly price gain for wool in 17 months has lifted the Eastern Market Indicator (EMI) above 1100 cents a kilogram for the first time since February 2014.
Nanjing Night Net

After the Australian Wool Exchange (AWEX) opened the new year on 1059c, unchanged from 2014’s final week, the EMI climbed to 1070c last week. This week’s 31c rise brought the indicator up to 1101c/kg.

AWEX senior market analyst Lionel Plunkett said this week’s auctions saw solid interest for all wool types, but like last week most of the action was in the finer ranges.

“Best style and 40 Newtons per kilotex (Nkt) were initially the focus, rising 30 to 50c in the 18.5 and finer range on the opening day,” Mr Plunkett said.

“However, there was a reversal of fortunes on Thursday when support for the better types moderated as buyers turned their attention to the lower spec grades and those in the broader microns.”

Mr Plunkett said a jump in price levels of 30c was not uncommon and had a number of lots in the 20-micron and broader range trading over 1200c.

“Adding to the positive vibe was a strong finish to the day in Fremantle which closed out the week outperforming the East Coast in selected pockets.”

The west closed on 1130c/kg (up 41c), with 1127c at Sydney (up 29c) and 1084c in Melbourne (up 32c).

NOTE:The first version of this article mistakenly ran with headline “two-year high”.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Comments Off on Strong market lifts EMI to 1101c more...

ACCC green lights JBS takeover

MEAT giant JBS has cleared one of the two main regulatory hurdles in its $1.45 billion takeover of big smallgoods company Primo (Australian Consolidated Food Holdings).
Nanjing Night Net

However, in a warning shot fired over JBS’ bows, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has flagged its wariness about a consolidating abattoir industry trend.

JBS Australia’s proposed acquisition of Primo will not constrain market competition, said the ACCC.

Primo is set to be sold to the meat processing and export giant in a strategic value-adding move set to aid JBS’ Asian market growth.

Livestock producers have been particularly worried about two more abattoirs joining the powerful JBS network and further reducing processing competition options.

Farmers, abattoirs, meat and small goods suppliers and customers responded to the bid announcement last November by making submissions to the ACCC and the Foreign Investment Review Board.

Although the Brazilian-based giant JBS – the world’s biggest animal protein processing company – has only been in Australia for seven years, it already owns 11 abattoirs (10 are operating) in five States, including Queensland’s big Dinmore and Rockhampton plants. Primo operates abattoirs at Port Wakefield in South Australia, processing pigs, and Scone in NSW’s Hunter Valley, which processes cattle.

The ACCC received submissions from “a range of interested parties”, who expressed concern that the proposed acquisition would result in less competition in the fat cattle market in northern NSW and Queensland.

Farmers and meat retailers are increasingly frustrated by consolidation of meat processing activities which are limiting the choice of independent meatworks bidding for livestock or offering service kill options to producers or butchers.

“The ACCC undertook a detailed assessment and determined that Primo is currently not a strong competitive constraint on JBS,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said, noting JBS’s abattoirs in Queensland and Primo’s abattoir at Scone are more than 500 kilometres apart.

“Furthermore, the increase in market share as a result of the proposed acquisition would be relatively small and JBS would continue to be constrained in the market for the acquisition of fat cattle by a number of alternative abattoirs and supermarket chains, in the northern NSW and southern Queensland region.”

While the ACCC determined the proposed sale would be unlikely to raise “significant competition concerns”, the watchdog is wary of the potential impact of further consolidation of abattoirs.

“The ACCC will continue to monitor this industry and any future acquisitions will face additional scrutiny,” Mr Sims said.

Nationals Senator John Williams is seething at the decision, labelling the ACCC “out of touch with reality”.

“I find it confusing that on one hand the ACCC will not oppose this acquisition, yet in the next breath says it is wary of the potential impact of the further consolidation of abattoirs,” Senator Williams said.

“If that is true, why didn’t it act in this instance?”

The buy-up still requires Foreign Investment Review Board approval before it can go ahead.

The Primo Group, the largest processed ham bacon and smallgoods business in Australia and New Zealand, owns the Primo, Hans and Beehive brands and key processing operations in five locations.

Primo, established in NSW by the Lederer family in 1985, has been majority owned by Singaporean-based equity fund manager Affinity Equity Partners for the past three years.

Affinity bought 70.1 per cent of the business in late 2011 in a deal which then valued the company at $740 million.

The Lederer’s Primo business activities also include the Joes Meat market and Farm Fresh Meats butchery chain in NSW and suburban shopping centre interests, although JBS is considered unlikely to keep the retail operations in the long-term.

Affinity has described JBS – the world’s largest processor of fresh meats – as “the logical owner for Primo”.

Although JBS processes pigmeat at its Devonport plant in Tasmania for a third party, the Primo takeover is the first major move into the pork sector by the big red meat business.

It wants to take advantage of Primo Group’s growing export operations across Asia, including China.

JBS said the purchase was consistent with the global strategy of Brazilian parent company JBS S.A. to grow its presence in value-added products.

JBS Australia’s chief executive officer Brent Eastwood has made a point of noting the new owners “do not intend to make any meaningful changes to Primo Group’s operations for the foreseeable future”.

Primo Group chief executive officer, Paul Hitchcock insisted operations at Primo sites would remain “very much business as usual” for employees, suppliers and customers.

The Primo takeover follows the 2011 merger of Teys and Cargill’s six abattoirs in NSW, Queensland and SA and the earlier sale of Country Fresh Australia’s NSW and Queensland plants to SA’s Thomas Foods International, plus recent smaller meatworks closures in eastern Australia.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Comments Off on ACCC green lights JBS takeover more...

High turn-off hits national herd

AFTER experiencing unprecedented turn-off (slaughter and live exports) in 2014, the Australian cattle industry is likely to see significant adjustments over the coming years, says Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA).
Nanjing Night Net

The high turn-off has had a dramatic impact on the national herd, estimated to have declined from a 35 year high, to a two decade low, in the space of just 24 months.

The flow-on effects from this are likely to last for the duration of the projection period (2020), impacting available supplies, while at the same time, testing market willingness to compete for limited product.

While the decline in 2015 is dramatic, putting the volumes into context, production levels are anticipated to be in line with the 10 year average. Regardless, having come from such supply highs, an adjustment across the supply chain is inevitable, having a range of consequences, including how cattle and boxed beef will be balanced between new and existing customers. This will be the case again in 2016 when further supply shortages are expected.

Indicative beef export prices during 2014 were at record highs, and are forecast to remain strong over the coming 12 months – given current low US beef production and strong global demand assisted by a devaluing $A.

This suggests that while Australian supplies are likely to decline over the coming 24 months, there will be potential for farm gate prices to lift. This has been exemplified by the recent sudden jump in prices, following widespread rainfall over the Christmas period.

Given the strength of the US market in particular, and under the assumption of tighter Australian beef production, an export market realignment is anticipated, with a greater proportion of exports trending back toward the larger, traditional markets of the US, Japan and Korea. The domestic market looks to remain under pressure.

On the live export front, demand is likely to remain robust, with the live trade continuing to contribute an important portion of turn-off. With fewer cattle available, and assuming uninterrupted market access, the South East Asian markets, in particular Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia, should continue dominating the trade for both feeder and slaughter cattle.

One of the key assumptions forming the basis of the 2015 cattle industry projections is that Australia will phase out of drought over the coming 12 months, with a greater proportion of production and exports to occur in the first half of the year, before easing in the final quarters.

With this as a key assumption, and given not only the seasonal variability, but the heavy influence seasonal conditions play on the Australian beef supply situation, the MLA Cattle Industry Projections will be updated on a quarterly basis.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Comments Off on High turn-off hits national herd more...

Copyright © 1996-2010 南京夜网|南京夜生活|南京桑拿梧桐客栈. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress