Archive for October, 2018

EYCI firm on 450.50c

AT THE close of Monday’s market the Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) finished at 450.50 cents, firm on where it finished on Friday, reports Meat and Livestock Australia.
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Trade steers were unchanged on 233c while medium steers improved 1c to 222c a kilogram. Feeder steers and heavy steers were firm on 247c and 237c, respectively, while medium cows averaged 194c, back 1c/kg.

Numbers at Toowoomba Elders in Queensland declined 23 per cent to 1130 head. Quality was very mixed and additional supermarket competition joined the usual panel of export processor, feeder and restocker buyers.

Buyers were more selective on light weight yearlings and prices declined, however strong demand from lotfeeders and the trade pushed medium and heavy weights dearer. Medium C2 yearling steers onto feed improved 6c, averaging 251c, while the heifer portion eased 5c, averaging 236c and selling to 258c/kg. Medium grown steers onto feed were up 2c, averaging 229c, while heavy D4 cows were firm on 221c/kg.

Tamworth, NSW, yarded 2250 head, back 18pc week-on-week, and quality was generally good – however there was quite a spread of condition scores.

Restockers and feeders were active on light weight lines of yearlings but were mostly not willing to pay the same prices as last week. Medium and heavy yearlings and grown cattle saw greater support, with most lines averaging firm to dearer. Light weight (280-330kg) C2 yearling steers to restockers averaged 244c, back 6c week-on-week, and light weight heifer lines to feeder buyers averaged 225c, back 10c/kg. Light C3 grown heifers improved 3c, averaging 223c, and medium D3 cows improved 3c, averaging 197c and selling to a top of 215c/kg.

Consignments to Wagga Wagga, NSW, increased 14pc to 6975 head for another large yarding. Southern and northern feedlots competed strongly on secondary and well finished yearling steers and a northern export processor showed strong interest amongst the usual panel of export and domestic processor buyers.

Prices mostly averaged 5c/kg either side of firm compared to last week. The large supply of over 1000 head of heavy C2 yearling steers to feeder buyers eased 2c, averaging 242c, and the heifer portion eased 1c, averaging 225c/kg.

Heavy C3 grown steers to slaughter improved 3c, averaging 233c and selling to 244c, and grown heifers followed a similar trend, with heavy C4 lines up 1c, averaging 214c/kg. Cows mostly eased week-on-week, with heavy D3 lines back 5c, averaging 187c/kg.

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NBN chief pushes future of internet

NBN chief pushes future of internet “Digital Eruption”: NBN Co chief Bill Morrow said that the NBN rollout would prepare Australia for the ongoing development of digital technology.
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TweetFacebookThe CEO of NBN Co, Bill Morrow, has used an address at the National Press Club to espouse the future advantages being offered by the rollout of the government’s NBN plan.

At the speech last Wednesday, Mr Morrow addressed the enormous effect the development of technology is having on businesses, industry and the economy.

“Those trends are only going to exacerbate with the connection of every Australian home and business to high speed broadband,” he said.

“The NBN network that is currently being rolled out is set to be available to all 12 million premises over the next five years.”

Mr Morrow said that, rather than “being cowed by the digital disruption”, the development of the internet and broadband connectivity throughout the country has opened up opportunities through online services and communication.

“Right around Australia we are experiencing the beginnings of a seismic digital eruption – an innovation-led economic impetus that looks likely to help Australia maintain its high standard of living and enable us to lift it even higher,” he said.

“Beyond our capital cities, whole communities are adopting this new mindset.

“Take Geraldton for example, where the first commercial data centre has been built in regional WA, offering high speed internet business services and cloud computing, data management and disaster recovery solutions to businesses throughout WA.”

Mr Morrow said that currently 10 per cent of the country had access to the NBN, with the full roll-out expected to be completed by 2020.

“Governments, councils, businesses and individuals have their role to play too in continuing to drive innovation,” he said.

“But we have seen what an nbn mindset can do for a town or community. Imagine what it can do for an entire nation.”

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Michael Diamond’s road to Rio

Michael Diamond, left, takes aim at the Upper Hunter Gun Club at Scone last weekend.THE road to Rio is paved with gruelling qualifying rounds, and for dual Olympic men’s trap-shooting champion Michael Diamond, it is no different.
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That is part of the reason the Fingal Bay shooter travelled to Scone last weekend to take part in a competition hosted by the Upper Hunter Gun Club.

Looking out from the ridge line east of the town, where the clay-target shooters from Cassilis, Mudgee, Murrurundi, Scone, Muswellbrook and Tamworth competed with others from the Lower Hunter and Central Coast, the view was breathtaking.

Here, the man ranked sixth in the world in the trap, the long-range event for the shotgun, was able to kick back with a small group, spend a few days in the caravan and sit by the campfire at night after nearly 12 months of international competition.

Diamond said heading to the bush helped him recalibrate.

– MICHAEL DIAMOND

‘‘Shooting clay targets is my passion, and I love it, but here it’s different because there’s nothing up for grabs and there’s no strain and I really like it,’’ he said.

‘‘Having said that, the wind is really testing today, very challenging, and if you don’t get that target in the first four metres, it will lose velocity and the wind plays havoc with it.’’

The concentration, discipline and accuracy required to consistently shatter an 11centimetre orange disc in mid-air accelerating at 110km/h at different angles from an underground bunker is bewildering.

Diamond has turned it into an artform. He has won Olympic gold medals at Atlanta and Sydney, countless Commonwealth gold and half a dozen world titles.

He has represented Australia at six Olympic Games. Although he did not win a medal at the London Olympics, he shot a world record-equalling 125 from 125 targets in the qualifying round.

The 43-year-old is vying to win selection to his seventh Olympics next year in Rio and, if his silver medal at the recent World Cup in Acapulco is anything to go by, he is right on target.

In Acapulco, Diamond secured one of the two quota places for the Australian men’s trap team during the qualifying period for Rio.

‘‘We can only take two people per shooting discipline, so it’s now up to my teammates to win the other quota spot.

‘‘We have one more chance at the Oceania Games coming up in November where Australia will face off against the Kiwis, the Fijians and a number of other Commonwealth countries.

The ‘‘other half’’ of the Diamond success story is his MX8 Perazzi, a competition clay gun.

‘‘I call her Betsy, and she’s 20 years old, and back then it was the latest technology, but she is still a remarkable Italian-made machine.

‘‘However, after two decades I will be moving on to a high-tech revolution Perazzi, because everyone around the world is now using that style of gun.

‘‘Betsy is my old faithful, but I will retire her for 2016 and start using the high-tech Perazzi, which is worth about €15,000 [$23,000],’’ he said.

Back at the humble tin shed of the Upper Hunter Gun Club in Scone, president Ron Wakem said he was chuffed to see Diamond drive up the gravel road to the clubhouse last weekend.

‘‘Michael Diamond has been a great representative for Australia and he currently holds the world record of 2049 clay targets before he missed a shot and, let me tell you, that takes concentration,’’ Wakem said. ‘‘It’s great for the sport and it’s great to see an Olympian share his skills with our local competition shooters.’’

What advice would Diamond give them? ‘‘Well, anybody can hit a clay target, but you’ve got to do it all the time, and that’s where the psychology is. It’s up here,’’ Diamond said, pointing to his head. ‘‘This is where you win.’’

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Nufarm changes pique agri interest

Former Nufarm boss Doug Rathbone.THE changing guard at Nufarm has attracted strong interest in the agribusiness sector, with fertiliser and explosives business boss James Fazzino at Incitec Pivot noting his admiration for the retiring Doug Rathbone.
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Nufarm chief executive and managing director Mr Rathbone stepped down from his roles on February 4 after leading the company for 15 years. He will receive a termination payment of $1,643,193 plus statutory entitlements.

“As a chief executive officer, when you look back, ultimately you want to stand and say: what have you built? Look at what Doug has achieved,” Mr Fazzino said.

“He’s taken a very small crop protection company and turned it into a globally significant one”.

Agribusiness investment advisor David Williams at Kidder Williams, said Mr Rathbone’s relentless travel habits had allowed him to steal a march on the competition.

“He put a lot of leather on the pavement. There are numerous acquisitions where major ag chemical companies didn’t know businesses were for sale and Doug bought them,” Mr Williams said.

Tassal Group chairman Allan McCallum described the Nufarm veteran as an “an inspiring person who enthuses people”.

Incitec’s Mr Fazzino noted “industries need people like Doug Rathbone”.

“He’s built a pretty amazing business and makes pretty good wine, too,” he said.

However, the Rathbone Wine Group, which includes Yering Station, Xanadu and Mount Langi Ghiran, has been a drain on Mr Rathbone’s personal cash reserves.

Last year he sold $31m worth of Nufarm stock to shore up the wine business, which was under pressure from financier ANZ Bank.

He said he planned to continue helping out in the vineyard business, run by his son Darren, but in his new freed-up role he was also looking forward to spending time with his boating interests, which include owning a marina.

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

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Pressure builds for Snowy Hydro

Snowy Hydro chief executive Paul Broad.SNOWY Hydro chief executive Paul Broad says the pressure is on to prove the worth of the energy supplier’s $834 million acquisition spree and achieve the growth he predicted.
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Last year’s $600 million purchase of Lumo Energy from Infratil, and the $234 million acquisition of the Colongra gas-fired power plant in NSW, have almost tripled government-owned Snowy’s debt to about $1.2 billion. Its BBB+ rating is unchanged.

Mr Broad said convincing his board of the merits of the Colongra purchase was “more complex” than for Lumo.

“The board has put really tough numbers around us to achieve the synergies that we can achieve, the targets we said we were going to achieve. We have to now go and do it,” he said.

“It’s a very exciting time to be part of Snowy. It’s stressful but it’s exciting. We’ve now got debt and we’ve got to prove by performance that was a successful strategy.”

But Snowy will not be chasing growth for the sake of it and will does not expect to challenge the dominance of the big three suppliers, AGL Energy, Origin Energy and EnergyAustralia, but focus on expansion in the retail market.

“We don’t want to get big and go broke. Our job is to really focus on how we grow our business, and we don’t want to just play numbers,” he said, pointing to failed telco One.Tel.

“We’d like to grow our business in a targeted way that is successful. We are not chasing market share at all.”

Snowy initially considered bidding for the Vales Point coal-fired power station, which the NSW government sought to sell at the same time as Colongra, but pulled out. An offer to contract base-load capacity on the Vales Point plant was also rejected, causing Snowy to back away from any ambitions to supply large commercial and industrial customers, and focus instead on “mum and dad” customers.

“C&I is a tough market. We love the big, ugly, peaky loads and we’re still very competitive in that space but in big base loads we’re not competitive. We’re very happy in our space, and very happy with Colongra.”

Colongra has only run for about 300 hours since it was built five years ago, and rising gas prices means it may run even less often in the future. But Mr Broad said it would prove its worth as “an insurance product” alongside Snowy’s hydro-electric system in the Snowy Mountains, primarily used to fill shortages elsewhere in the market due to high demand or plant outages.

Mr Broad, a former chief executive of Infrastructure NSW, said Snowy was not interested in further acquisitions as it has the assets it needs to fulfil its ambitions in retailing and generation. He ruled out any interest in Alinta Energy, which will be sold this year by private equity owner TPG Capital.

“Our job is to make what we’ve got work. And the early signs from Lumo are terrific. I’m very, very happy.”

With about 1 million customers between Lumo Energy and Snowy’s Red Energy brand, Mr Broad said he saw scope for growth mostly in the key markets of Victoria and NSW, but outside the tough, competitive market in and around Sydney, where the major three retailers battled for market share. Rather, the focus was “on the fringes” in rural markets where the Snowy brand was strong.

Snowy’s recent acquisitions triggered speculation its owners, the NSW, Victorian and federal governments, may be considering a fresh push to privatise the business, after abandoning the last attempt in 2007. But Mr Broad, whose support for privatisation is well known, said there was no talk of any such move.

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