Premium Udon noodle market for WA wheat growers

26 Jan, 2009 03:00 AM
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The CBH Group’s marketing arm, Grain Pool, and WA wheat breeding company, InterGrain, have announced a strategy aimed at ensuring the future of the premium Udon noodle wheat market for Western Australian growers.

The partnership between InterGrain and Grain Pool will see co-ordinated marketing arrangements for the three premium noodle varieties Binnu, Yandanooka and Fortune, by providing Grain Pool an exclusive export licence for these varieties.

InterGrain chief executive, Dr Bryan Whan, says the primary objective of the strategy is to revive premiums for noodle wheat growers by ensuring a continuous supply of preferred WA noodle wheat varieties to satisfy market demands.

"The aim of this strategy is to further develop a market for premium noodle varieties and therefore restore the premiums noodle wheat growers have received in the past," he said.

"WA Noodle wheat has unique characteristics and demonstrates superior performance in the production of Udon Noodles, over and above domestic Japanese or North American wheat.

"While Calingiri noodle wheat will still be classified as noodle grade for the 2009-10 harvest, the characteristics of the three newer varieties outperform Calingiri with a more suitable colour and texture for the production of Udon noodles and are therefore gaining more interest from the Japanese market."

According to CBH, the three noodle varieties of Binnu, Yandanooka and Fortune are premium varieties and overcome the end product deficiencies of Calingiri, with the variety Fortune producing similar yields to Calingiri.

"All three varieties have been assessed by an independent Udon noodle tasting panel and the panel recognized the excellent Udon quality with superior colour and texture over noodles produced using Calingiri," Dr Whan said.

InterGrain approached several key grain traders to discuss alternative marketing arrangements for Udon noodle wheat and how to retain premiums for noodle wheat growers in the lead up to the 2008-09 harvest.

"Under the Plant Breeder’s Rights, InterGrain has the ability to grant an exclusive export licence for these new varieties," he said.

"Growers who currently have Binnu and Yandanooka will receive further information of any variance to their Plant Breeder's Rights (PBR) licence including the conditions of grain sales for the three new varieties, starting from the 2009-10 harvest.

"Growers who purchase new seed of Binnu, Yandanooka or Fortune varieties, either from Crop Care Seed Technologies, via their local retailer or the new online seed trading website SeedPool, will enter into a PBR licence that authorises grain sales to Grain Pool or its nominated subsidiaries only."

General manager of Grain Pool, Brian Mumme, said the partnership with InterGrain aims to retain a premium local industry for WA growers, historically worth up to $150 million a year.

"The noodle wheat industry is in danger of completely dropping off the radar and action needs to be taken in order to protect growers from losing a highly competitive piece of the market," he said.

"We recognised this need earlier in the year, which is why, in the lead-up to the 2008-09 harvest, we introduced premiums of $10 per tonne and $13 per tonne over Australian Noodle Wheat 1 (ANW1) for Premium Noodle Variety (PNV) and Premium Noodle Binnu (PNB) wheat respectively."

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