Archive for August, 2018

Case IH hits the road for power tour

The Magnum CVT Rowtrac 380 tractor will be one of the features on the Case IH Red Power Tour in Australia.THROUGHOUT February and March, Case IH will be showcasing its range of new products and models at regional centres across the nation in its inaugural Case IH Red Power Tour in Australia.
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The company will be driving 12 new models across Australia on the back of three Iveco trucks, stopping at five locations on the way.

The roadshow visits are at:

•Perth, WA – Wednesday, February 11

•Kadina, SA – Thursday, February 12

•Mildura, Vic – Thursday, February 26

•Dubbo, NSW – Thursday, March 5

•Rockhampton, Qld – Friday, March 13

Case IH high horsepower product manager Pete McCann said it was a great opportunity for locals to see the new machines and the newest features for themselves.

“In the past, our customers have sometimes had to travel long distances to be able to test out the machines they’re interested in, it made more sense to take the machinery to them,” he said.

“We’ve just released the Magnum Rowtrac, a new tractor for row crop farming. It offers better flotation, manoeuvring and flexibility – it’s truly an industry leader, and the roadshow will give people the chance to test-drive it along with the Magnum wheeled tractor to easily compare the two.”

Other machines on show will be the new model mid-range Magnum, the Maxxum CVT, the Farmall C and Advanced Farming Systems (AFS).

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Timber port ‘now inevitable’

The Company’s newest directors – Graham Holdaway, of Buninyong, Victoria, and Shauna Black, of Kingscote, Kangaroo Island – joined chairman Paul McKenzie, managing director John Sergeant and company secretary Vicky Allinson on an inspection of the Company’s assets.Timber port ‘now inevitable’
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The directors of Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers (KIPT) believe the construction of a deep-water port to ship harvested pine and bluegum from Kangaroo Island is now inevitable.

After its annual general meeting in Adelaide on September 8, the Company’s directors spent two days on Kangaroo Island, as they continue to work on securing a port and a route to market for the plantation timber on the island.

The Company’s newest directors – Graham Holdaway, of Buninyong, Victoria, and Shauna Black, of Kingscote, Kangaroo Island – joined chairman Paul McKenzie, managing director John Sergeant and company secretary Vicky Allinson on an inspection of the Company’s assets. These include 2700 hectares of pine plantations, 2300 hectares of bluegums, the Timber Creek mill, a potential port site at Smith Bay and other land. The standing timber translates to 807,000 cubic metres of pine and 403,000 cubic metres of blue gum.

Mr McKenzie said the directors were pleased that the Commissioner for Kangaroo Island Wendy Campana had accepted their invitation to visit some of the sites and hear more about forestry on Kangaroo Island.

The Company’s newest directors – Graham Holdaway, of Buninyong, Victoria, and Shauna Black, of Kingscote, Kangaroo Island – joined chairman Paul McKenzie, managing director John Sergeant and company secretary Vicky Allinson on an inspection of the Company’s assets.

“The Board is determined to monetize the Company’s land and timber assets, by developing them into a sustainable timber-growing and exporting business,” Mr McKenzie said.

“Also, KIPT is keen to work with the other major timber owner on Kangaroo Island towards a port solution, which we believe is now inevitable.

“For a variety of reasons we believe that the site at Smith Bay, owned by our Company, is the best place for a deep-water port but we are happy to consider other sites.

“We have two priorities regarding the port. First, we are calling for a transparent process in the analysis and consideration of a new port site by the State Government.

“Second, we want fair access (including fair pricing) to any port facilities which are developed, not just for us but for other commodity exports and imports, such as grain or fuel,” Mr McKenzie said. “That will be the best solution for Kangaroo Island.”

Commissioner Wendy Campana said the recent visit had been a good opportunity for her to learn more.

“Plantation forestry has the potential to be an important ongoing industry for Kangaroo Island, providing employment and boosting economic activity. Residents have waited for many years to see the benefits from the timber industry and now, with a port in sight, there is every reason to believe those benefits will be realised,” Ms Campana said.

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The Company’s newest directors – Graham Holdaway, of Buninyong, Victoria, and Shauna Black, of Kingscote, Kangaroo Island – joined chairman Paul McKenzie, managing director John Sergeant and company secretary Vicky Allinson on an inspection of the Company’s assets.

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JBS call angers stakeholders

THE Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has been branded as out of touch and badly in need of a skilled agribusiness unit after contentiously approving the $1.45 billion takeover of smallgoods processor Primo by meat giant JBS.
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Late last week the authority cleared one of the two main approval hurdles to Brazilian-owned JBS’s takeover of the big smallgoods company, despite receiving farm sector criticism of the deal’s potential to reduce meat sector competition.

However, in a warning shot fired across JBS’s bows, the competition watchdog conceded it was wary about a consolidating abattoir industry trend in Australia.

JBS has acquired 11 meatworks in five States since 2007.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims drew immediate fire from Nationals MPs, including Senator John Williams who said he was confused to find the commission approving the sale, “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?” he asked.

“This decision has been met with dismay by farmers and the livestock industry.

“I’ve got a lot of respect for Rod Sims – he’s a smart bloke – but his outfit has totally missed the mark on this one.

“They don’t understand how the livestock auction system works – fewer buyers means lower prices and those saleyard prices also set the value of stock sold on consignment from the paddock to the meatworks.”

He said the “disgraceful” ACCC decision sparked a groundswell of anxious activity within Coalition government ranks, with MPs hoping the Foreign Investment Review Board would better understand the situation.

“We really need an expert rural unit working within the ACCC, staffed with people experienced in rural issues”NSW Farmers cattle committee chairman Derek Schoen said his dealings with the ACCC confirmed its staff “had a very poor understanding of agricultural markets and related activities”.

He had personally assisted commission staff examining the Primo sale and while disappointed with its verdict, he was not surprised.

“It was very clear they don’t have any real expertise in agricultural matters – they had no idea of how livestock saleyards operated,” he said after taking ACCC staff to a Wagga Wagga cattle sale.

“We really need an expert rural unit working within the ACCC, staffed with people experienced in rural issues.

“Agribusiness is a complex, multi-faceted industry, but the ACCC seems to think it must treat every takeover case in isolation without thinking of the cumulative impact on producers or other competitors in the supply chain.

“Producers are very worried they’ll wake up in 10 years to find we have a meat processing industry controlled by just two or three giant players.”

His assessments of the ACCC’s rural market competency echo concerns expressed during the blocked 2013 GrainCorp takeover bid by global grain processing force Archer Daniels Midland (ADM).

ACCC representatives facing a Senate inquiry on grain handling were grilled for approving the sale while admitting limited understanding of the grain trade or processes involved.

Last week Mr Sims accepted there was unease in the meat industry, saying the ACCC would monitor the processing sector “and any future acquisitions will face additional scrutiny”.

He argued the competitive impact on meat customers, smallgoods customers or the provision of prime cattle service kills was studied but no significant competition concerns arose.

“I really don’t think the ACCC has been looking at the bigger picture”NSW Central West selling agent Ross Plasto said he has “nothing against JBS, but they’re taking another bidder out of our market”.

Mr Plasto from Plasto and Company at Wellington said NSW, in particular, had felt the pinch caused by a steady decline in abattoirs operators, especially in the beef sector.

“I really don’t think the ACCC has been looking at the bigger picture,” he said.

“Primo has been a major supporter of Dubbo sales, but increasingly it seems like our (eastern Australian) marketplace is becoming a JBS versus Teys-Cargill situation.

“It’s a lot like the Coles and Woolworths story all over again.”

Although market demand for red meat, particularly from exporters was strengthening and offering opportunities for new processors, Mr Plasto said new meatworks were expensive to build and operate, which limited the attraction to potential new industry players.

Adding to the problem, according to NSW Farmers cattle committee chairman Derek Shoen, “Killeneen”, Corowa, was a tendency for existing meatworks to be locked into only handling stock for specific exporters or big supermarkets.

This left even even fewer options for farmers or local marketers wanting stock processed as contract kills.

But north eastern Victorian agent, Michael Curtis said despite the frustrating consolidation trend led by JBS, quite a few smaller meatworks continued to service southern Australia, and some had invested big sums in expanding operations.

“We’ve had a few cases where clients have been caught out as abattoirs have changed ownership or closed, but there’s been quite a bit of extra export processing activity in the beef market of late, and that means they need more cattle,” he said.

“Thomas Foods International at Murray Bridge (South Australia) has gone from handling 5000 cattle a week to 7000.

“Once these abattoirs are geared up their operators need to keep them working at maximum capacity, so they’ll look for stock across a wider area.”

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Coalition ‘back from the cliff’: Chester

Nationals MP Darren Chester.VICTORIAN Nationals MP Darren Chester says the Coalition came “dangerously close” to being “just like Labor” with this week’s leadership spill motion.
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A relieved Mr Chester said he congratulated the Liberal party room for “pulling back from the edge of the cliff and for showing that cooler heads prevailed”, by voting down the spill motion 61 to 39 votes on Monday morning.

“I don’t think the Australian people actually voted for us with a great deal of love and affection,” he said of the 2013 federal election result.

“They voted for us because they hated Labor’s chaos and dysfunction. So we need to keep that in mind.

“We’re on probation with the Australian people, and if we go down that path of fighting among ourselves like the Labor party did, we will be very harshly judged at the next election.”

One of the major conundrums facing the Coalition is whether to remove a first-term Prime Minister and suffer a fate similar to the one it vehemently criticised Labor for during the previous Rudd-Gillard-Rudd government, for causing national instability.

But the conundrum within a conundrum for the National Party is that they don’t get to vote on the Liberal Party’s leadership despite suffering the potential political damage from such a decision.

Last week, National party leader Warren Truss stated repeatedly that the Coalition agreement was between him and Mr Abbott and any Liberal leadership change would require its re-negotiation.

But with an expectation of continued poor returns in voter polling, disgruntled Liberals appear set to maintain a campaign against Mr Abbott, possibly to replace him with the more palatable and popular Malcolm Turnbull.

But the Communications Minister remains unpopular with the Nationals due to his past views on carbon trading policy and previous disregard for potential impacts on farmers.

In contrast to the Liberals, Mr Chester said the National Party leadership wasn’t an issue of serious conjecture and “doesn’t even come up in discussion; either publicly or privately”.

“We have a strong, united team,” he said. “The love and respect for Warren Truss is very genuine in our party room.

“When he was ill last year a lot of people were speculating about his future but we were hoping he’d get better.

“Some of the Canberra insiders were already burying him, but we were cheering him on and making sure he got better and got back to full health.

“Warren has the 100 per cent support of the party room and will be leader of the Nationals for as long as he wants to be leader.”

Hume Liberal MP Angus Taylor said while 61 Liberals voted against the spill motion, the National Party’s support – with its 15 MPs and six Senators – was also an important consideration.

Mr Taylor said there was “no question” about Mr Abbott’s ability to build and manage the Liberal party’s relationship with the Nationals, “and that’s been a big plus for us”.

“There’s been very little tension in the Coalition,” he said.

“I know my personal relationships with the Nationals are very, very strong and we’ve got very effective working relationships.

“It is true Tony has been very good at that and I’m acutely conscious of that and we need to maintain it.”

Mr Taylor said it was also “understandable” that the Nationals had strategically distanced themselves from Liberal infighting over leadership in recent weeks.

“It has been a Liberal Party issue,” he said.

“But I think the Nationals’ concern quite rightly is they want a strong and effective Coalition where they have a voice and they are also able to exercise influence and they have been very supportive of Tony’s leadership.”

However, Mr Taylor – who voted against the spill motion – said he didn’t expect to be dealing with another leadership ballot any time soon.

He said Mr Abbott had a “near death experience” politically and would heed the associated lessons and make necessary changes, such as improved backbench consultations.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten said Labor had learnt its lesson and had new leadership rules which would prevent it from repeating the “circus that we saw from the Liberals”.

“The Liberal Party has broken so many promises since they came to office,” he said.

“Politics isn’t that hard in Australia, it’s about a covenant of trust between the voters and the people they vote for and the Abbott government, all of them, have smashed it with their broken promises and lies.

“Perhaps the biggest broken promise of all was that they said 521 days ago they would be a government of adults, they would be stable, they would be sensible.

“Well that is clearly not the case.”

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Wool ‘on a good run’

THE Eastern Market Wool Indicator rose above the elusive 1100 cents a kilogram mark for the first time in 12 months last week, and there’s more good news for woolgrowers with industry commentators tipping the market will remain firm to lift slightly in coming weeks.
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Independent wool consultant, Andrew Dennis, Adelaide, South Australia, said the wool markets had had a good run for the last couple of weeks – something he expected would continue at least in the short term.

He said finally the Australian dollar’s downward movement was playing into the hand of growers.

“There is better demand from China at the moment which we haven’t had for 12 months, there are more positives than negatives for the wool market at the moment,” Mr Dennis said.

He said traditionally China buyers were after 19.5 to 22 micron wool, but they were now buying more fine wool types.

“As well as always being strong on crossbreds and cardings, China buyers are starting to broaden their outlook to the fine and superfine end of the market, which is long overdue for some people.”

Mr Dennis predicted the market would go up at little, but nothing as extreme as 200c/kg.

“It’s the wrong time of year for that as we are well into the second half of the processing season. There is probably a little but more upside in the market but not a huge amount,” he said.

Mr Dennis said there was also more wool coming off hold and hitting the auction room.

“A fair few growers are trying to take advantage of the spike in prices, which is normal, but that always tests the market when we get an oversupply. But it seems to be normal cycle for the wool industry,” he said.

In terms of wool production, Mr Dennis doubted it be lower than last year.

“However, there are still a fair few sheep getting their heads cut off, so I don’t think production is going to increase markedly either.

“But sheep certainly look more attractive with current meat and wool prices then they used to.”

Auctions Plus and Wooltrade market operations manager, Tony Benson, Sydney, NSW, also anticipated the market would remain firm this week.

“We are seeing an increase of fresh wool hitting the market at the moment, and week-on-week we had 900 bales more last week,” he said.

“It’s good marketing by growers to take the opportunity to sell while the markets spiked rather than store it.”

At the West Wyalong Merino breeders sheep sale in NSW last week Landmark selling agent, Will Dean, West Wyalong, said restockers were steering around the shorn ewes and opting to pay $10 to $15 a head more for young woolly ewes, as the rebate of $20 to $30 of wool off them straight made it worth paying a premium.

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