Moisture win for wheat growers

24 Apr, 2002 10:00 PM
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AWB Ltd has hit back at claims that growers could be docked up to $25/t for wheat that doesn't meet optimum moisture levels this harvest.

But, it is still at least two months before growers will get the final word on just how they will fare under a revised Golden Rewards scheme designed to reward growers who supply high quality grain to the national wheat pools.

This summer will be the first season that wheat growers receive credit (or discounts) for moisture levels for wheat, and follows a similar pattern to the popular Golden Rewards scheme for protein and screening levels.

At the Grains Council of Australia Grains Week conference in Melbourne recently, AWB was preparing to meet with GCA and the grain moisture taskforce to announce its plans for the moisture scheme.

The taskforce has been working with AWB to develop the plan after farmers throughout Victoria and SA experienced difficulties in delivering grain to AWB moisture standards last summer.

But AWB International general manager Sarah Scales said it was too early to tell if general moisture receival standards would be raised.

"This (decision) is going to be driven by markets," Ms Scales said.

"Effectively the buyers are saying to us around the world, we don't want to pay for moisture."

Any decision on the scale of discounts and premiums will only be made after the full equity of the pool is known.

Ms Scales would not reveal any price ranges to Farm Weekly but did say earlier reports that growers could be docked up to $25/t for high moisture levels were wrong.

"It is very unlikely there would be $25/t discounts," she said.

"But there will definitely be a reward or premium/discount based on moisture contents."

Market forces will have the biggest influence over the prices farmers receive under the Golden Rewards scheme, she said.

"The last thing we want to do is develop a system that negatively impacts price and negatively impacts access to markets around the world," Ms Scales said.

"For example, does Japan want high moisture wheat?

"It's difficult because we don't really want to be promoting Australian wheat as a higher moisture wheat.

"But there are some markets that can accept higher moisture wheat than the normal."

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