THE potential earning capabilities of durum wheat have been highlighted by the Australian Durum Company, a NSW-based business that earlier this month executed a 30,000-tonne export shipment of Australian durum destined for Italy.
Veteran grain exporter Peter Howard, principal of the Australian Durum Company, said Australian durum was suitable for use in manufacturing high-quality pasta.
This, combined with a dearth of suitable durum in the northern hemisphere last year, combined to kick Australian durum values up to $620 a tonne during harvest, a lift of $200/t over the harvest period alone.
A lack of uncommitted durum in Australia also played a role in the sharp rally, which saw values near $350/t above the milling wheat price.
Following that, Mr Howard said it was inevitable there was a decline in values, but he said prices were now at a solid, sustainable level.
Mr Howard said durum plantings down the east coast had fallen away in 2014-15, due to concerns with the disease crown rot and relatively low prices at planting time.
He said he hoped the solid prices achieved by growers will attract a good plant in key eastern production zones such as north-west NSW and the Liverpool Plains, also in NSW, this season.
Mr Howard said he hoped to visit Italy and the buyers of the Australian durum to get feedback on its quality during the year.