Al dente direction for durum

11 Mar, 2015 01:00 AM
Photo: Wayne Taylor
Australian durum was suitable for use in manufacturing high-quality pasta
Photo: Wayne Taylor

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.

Gregor Heard

Gregor Heard

is the national grains writer for Fairfax Agricultural Media
Date: Newest first | Oldest first


Jock Munro
11/03/2015 5:03:41 AM

Mr Howard was a harsh and committed critic of the wheat single desk. How much more stable would the durum market be if we still had the grower controlled single desk national pooling arrangement? How much money are the merchants pocketing in the deregulated market place?
12/03/2015 5:54:30 AM

@Jock Munro, do you have nothing better to do than sit here and comment on every article that can be mildly related to the single desk debate? It's gone, it's been gone since 2008. It's not coming back. Accept it or get over it and move on. You're the kind of person this industry doesn't need, living in the past.
John NIven
12/03/2015 7:16:36 AM

Oh dear Erin, I don't follow the single desk debate but Jock must have hit a high spot
John Smith
12/03/2015 7:34:47 AM

Jock Munro - Merchants are losing money in this deregulated market place. The current cost of replacement on the track market is about $20 ABOVE export parity. Thats the effect competition has. We need to focus on providing increased investment into the Agricultural sector, which wouldnt have happened during teh Single Desk period.
Jock Munro
12/03/2015 11:16:30 AM

Erin, I don't think you realise how much we have lost. John Smith, AWB Ltd built 22 state of art receival sites-Cargill now own them and are laughing at us as they and their fellow merchants erode our hard earned reputation for quality and lower the relative value of our wheat as they compete against each other for sales.
John Smith
12/03/2015 2:29:45 PM

Jock, I would love to see proof that merchants are eroding quality? If competition has eroded quality here then it must have eroded quality everywhere else. Maybe we should have a quota system and export licenses like Russia and China? The fact is the grain market under single desk was inefficient, bloated, and did not return value to growers. Only pure competition will deliver what the customer desires. Its economics 101...
12/03/2015 3:21:50 PM

"the fact is the grain market under the single desk was inefficient, boated etc etc..." Is that really a fact John Smith or just your opinion? what it is , is economic mumbo jumbo, there isn't and never will be such a thing as "pure competition" and I don't see any improvement in value to growers, I know it's certainly more expensive to produce and deliver, a logistical nightmare really. but then that's only my opinion
Jock Munro
12/03/2015 6:21:15 PM

You must be a merchant John Smith-which of the middlemen do you work for? Do you expect us to believe that Cargill and co compete the price up for the mills in order to capture a sale?! The millers are telling us that our quality is shot and our wheat is worth less.
Philip Downie
13/03/2015 9:55:03 AM

John, John what a load of rubbish. Australia and Canada had the best reputations because they had control from breeder to boat. Now there is no control, the best our traders can manage is to get the grade right and there is much more to it than that. Plus the current system of non transparency and unaccountability doesn't allow anyone to find out the quality of various varieties. Great system GRDC.
John Smith
13/03/2015 11:25:14 AM

Jock, are you talking directly to the customers? Or are you just reading the press? Mark - The single desk supported under-performing marginal growers while restricting the more profitable well established growers and restricting investment. Monopolies do that.
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