Stephen eyes the futures

24 Mar, 2013 01:00 AM
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CBH grain trader Stephen Moyle sees a solid future for the grains industry in WA.
CBH grain trader Stephen Moyle sees a solid future for the grains industry in WA.

STEPHEN Moyle has come a long way from the family vineyard in Harvey.

He has now joined the world of grain trading at the CBH Group's West Perth head office.

As a youngster, Stephen often enjoyed visits to a family friend's Wheatbelt property and this allowed him to gain an understanding of the production side of farming.

After a move to Perth in 2007, he began undergraduate study at Curtin University where he undertook a Bachelor of Commerce, Economics and Finance.

Stephen developed a keen interest for finance and looked into careers such as stockbroking and equities but became enticed by the world of agriculture towards the end of his degree.

Over time his eyes were opened to the financial component of the agricultural industry.

"In my final year I started linking my assignments back to the agricultural industry and I put two and two together and realised this was what I was interested in," Stephen said.

"I never knew how much finance was involved in the grain game until I started spending more time on farms as an adult rather than as a child and my focus moved away from what was happening in the paddock to what was happening in the futures markets."

Stephen graduated at Curtin University in 2010 and began work at CBH as a junior wheat trader where he completed a full year on the wheat desk.

He was then promoted to a trader position and completed another year as a wheat trader before he moved to become a barley trader in October 2012.

After three years at CBH, Stephen is enjoying the work, meeting new people and getting out in the field and seeing the different phases of production.

"I really like being in the Wheatbelt and I try to head out at each stage of the growing season," he said.

"Seeding is great because there is a lot of action, then I go out again when the crops are emerging and then harvest, which is always a bit of fun.

"Generally every week there is something new to the market that has changed it in one way shape or form.

"Something can always change the prices for WA growers.

"For example, the rain in Argentina or some key event, whether it be price action, currency movement or production concern, can significantly change our outlook for the short and long term for WA farmers.

"There is a new crop coming online globally every 100 days and there's always something new on the market.

"You are continually looking at different things.

"That may be weather charts, the exchanges or people offering the same prices to the same country and we have to compete against them daily.

"It makes you keep an eye on lots of different things which means it is always interesting."

Stephen has a positive outlook on the future of agriculture and believes it is important for government to consider risk mitigation insurance as an option for WA farmers.

Looking forward he said Australia's geographical location would provide a competitive advantage in the future.

"We have a strong demand for our wheat from South East Asia and our location means we can generally get our grain there cheaper than our competitors," he said.

Stephen said WA agriculture was facing distinct challenges that had resulted from the mining boom.

"You have a lot of guys heading to the mines because they can make twice as much money as what they can make in grain in some cases," he said.

"But I'm not sure how long-term mining is, whereas the grain industry has been here for a very long time and I think it has a very good future.

"You've started to get a lot of massive corporations buying land in WA which is obviously a sign of a long-term commitment (by corporations).

"So the Chinese buying our land is a sign they believe there is a future in grain and that Australia is a strong and consistent supplier of it."

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