AWB has launched an innovative new durum contract as part of a plan to satisfy growing demand for WA durum wheat.
AWB Middle East, Africa and Europe general manager Michael Long said the hectare-based, fixed-price contract being offered exclusively to WA durum wheat growers would give some pricing certainty and quality flexibility to encourage more durum production in WA.
"WA produces top quality durum which is highly regarded by our most discerning customers in Italy," Mr Long said.
"But production in WA has been less than it could be because there is a widely-held view that durum does not perform as well in the field as bread wheats, making farmers reluctant to grow it.
"Through the introduction of this fixed price contract, which offers a significant premium for durum over bread wheat with flexibility over tonnage and quality, we hope to stimulate production in 2006 to reach 100,000t.
"As such, hectare contracts up to 50,000ha will be initially offered."
AWB International general manager Sarah Scales said offering innovative contracting options for growers was part of the national pool's development plan for WA durum.
"We realise that to kick-start the durum industry in WA, we have to take some unique measures," Ms Scales said.
"Through this contract, we are giving growers the security and flexibility they need to take on the production of a new crop."
Mr Long said the strategy to develop durum wheat in WA had been formed in close consultation with the Australian Durum Industry Association, WA Durum Growers Association and WA Agriculture Department, which has a specialist in durum agronomy available to help growers get the most out of their durum wheat crops.
"Earlier this month, we hosted a WA tour by representatives from Italy's biggest durum buyer, Molino Casillo, which included visits to WA growers producing durum and consultations with the Agriculture Department," Mr Long said.
"There a lot of people committed to making durum a success in WA and we look forward to working with WA growers to get this high quality product to the world market."
The key contract details are:
P Price will be about $217.50 FOB Fremantle per tonne based on a declared hectare contract based on 10pc protein and 5pc screenings
p Premiums and discounts will apply to key quality parameters and will be advised soon.
AWB recognises growers harvesting durum wheat must plan for next year's crop and make seed retention decisions now.
Growers wanting more information can contact their local grain marketer or Agriculture Department durum agronomist Shahajahan Miyan on 9690 2152.