GRDC Research Updates unveil tomorrow's tools and technologies – Wagga Wagga
GroundCover™ Issue: 122 | 02 May 2016 | Author: Nicole Baxter
GRDC Research Updates are a hothouse of new projects, debate, knowledge-sharing, ready-to-go innovations and a sneak peak at what is on the horizon for our cropping industry. For this issue of Ground Cover we crossed the country to cover Updates in Adelaide, Wagga Wagga, Goondiwindi, Auburn, Perth and Yuna.
Industry gathers to drive change
More than 240 advisers and growers from southern and central New South Wales gathered at Charles Sturt University in February to hear about the latest outcomes of national and local GRDC-supported grains research.
The two-day event, ‘Informed decisions – driving change’, sought to promote discussion among grains industry specialists on the production drivers in farm businesses.
Lachlan Caldwell, chair of the 2016 Wagga Wagga GRDC Grains Research Update steering committee, said the list of speakers had been pulled together to develop business owners’ decision-making skills.
Keynote sessions delivered insights into the pulse industry domestically and internationally, and a new perspective on how agricultural data could be harnessed to foster innovation and profitable business opportunities.
The final keynote opened a window on the science of seasonal forecasting and weather predictions for the coming year.
Other topics ranged from optimal seeding dates, crop variety selection, disease management, satellite imagery, controlled-traffic farming, best practice nutrition tactics and farm profitability.
Pulses – price triggers the best tactic
NZX Australian Agribusiness grain marketing consultant Ron Storey said there were huge opportunities in the international market for Australia’s pulses and with 2016 the United Nations’ International Year of Pulses there was never a better time to promote their consumption.
Although Australia was a small pulse producer by global standards, he said it was a large exporter of chickpeas and the Indian subcontinent was an important player in the market.
“India sets the pace in pulse markets where the monsoonal rains dictate market sentiment,” Mr Storey said. “Short-term price spikes and dips occur as Indian governments (federal and provincial) juggle the need for price stability and food security for its vast population.”
More broadly, he pointed to a global generation of consumers who were now more discerning and basing buying decisions on ethics, origin and health. Mr Storey said there were strong environmental arguments for plant protein to be a sustainable contributor to the growing protein demand in developing countries.
To capitalise on this, he said pulses had a positive story to tell because they could be used in a range of ways, including as meat substitutes and snackfoods for the health-conscious middle class.
Mr Storey acknowledged the volatility of pulse markets, but said growers need to set realistic trigger prices and capture good margins when they were on offer.
“Using ‘price decile charts’ can assist growers in their price risk management,” he explained. “Trying to pick the top of the market is not a good selling strategy.”
Mr Storey said most grain traders issued their daily indicative bids by mid-morning. At times, growers may be able to negotiate a better selling price than the publicly disclosed indicative bid and having a target price in the marketplace was one way of achieving that, he said. To reduce risk, Mr Storey encouraged spreading sales over several buyers, checking the market’s liquidity and ensuring any foray into value adding actually added profit, not more cost to the bottom line.– Nicole Baxter
More information:Ron Storey,
0418 332 431,
GRDC Research Updates:
GRDC Project Code ICN00021
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