Grain premiums for organic

28 Mar, 2015 01:00 AM
Premiums of up to 100pc are attainable for organic producers

IN spite of its status as a bulk commodity, grain is commanding a healthy premium as an organic product, according to leaders within the organic sector.

Australian Certified Organic (ACO) says domestic organic millers are paying up to 40 per cent premiums for certified organic grain, and Scott Kinnear of the Safe Food Foundation says premiums of up to 100pc are attainable for organic producers.

Organic grain production has fallen in Australia in recent years, according to Australian Certified Organic, with seasonal difficulties and a smaller production base meaning Australian organic grain supplies are at a record low.

With uses for organic grain varying from the burgeoning artisan bakery movement, to organic livestock producers who are required to feed certified organic grain, there is pressure on to find supply.

Andrew Monk, chair of Australian Organic, which has ACO as an offshoot, says the shortfall is worrying but added it presented opportunities for organic farmers of other products, or conventional grain producers looking to diversify.

“Export demand is also high. The settings are perfect for existing operators to expand and new entrants to innovate and diversify their current cropping and marketing practices.”

Mr Kinnear said the Asian market was becoming increasingly selective and quality conscious.

“Growth there in organics is virtually exponential.”

ACO said a large miller in Queensland is offering 40pc higher premiums for growers switching to growing certified organic grain.

Dr Monk said farmers who are already using organic farming practices can achieve organic certification quicker under recent changes to the national organic standard, while conventional farmers will take longer.

Producers could be fully certified after just one year of inspections, if they can verify that the property has been under organic management for the previous three years.

Gregor Heard

Gregor Heard

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


30/03/2015 5:47:20 PM

Hmmm, what percentage of current wheat growers could swap to organic without flooding the market and eliminating the premium?
Zero till
31/03/2015 4:52:41 PM

Organic wheat is completely unsustainable. Weeds can only be controlled by cultivation and plenty of it. Then your mining nutrients till you hit a brick wall. The fact the top grain growers are not going down the organic path is because we believe in ground cover, retaining moisture and healthy soils something no till systems can achieve but Organics will never achieve. It's a religous movement that never will be embraced by the majority of grain growers.
4/04/2015 5:35:54 AM

yeah you are probably right Zero, until all the "top growers" run into the brick wall of herbicide resistance, acidity and all the other things that make both systems about as sustainable as each other. We're all choking on smoke haze around here this week because of the latest weapon in the continuous cropping arsenal.....slow burning chaff rows in the hope of destroying ryegrass seed, as well as choking the neighbours
9/04/2015 5:38:49 AM

Interesting. Farmers do need substantial bonus for organics. Information obtained from my organic grower clients, who by the way are pulling back in area of organic production shows: *Cost of organic herbicides and pesticides are substantially higher to that of conventional chemicals. *Efficiencies of these products can be substantially less *Yields are generally substantially less.


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