WA grain faces a competitive future

30 Mar, 2012 01:00 AM
CBH chief executive officer Andy Crane said the biggest issue facing the Australian agricultural industry was its
CBH chief executive officer Andy Crane said the biggest issue facing the Australian agricultural industry was its "general competitiveness."

THE Australian agricultural industry is becoming increasingly less competitive on the world stage according to CBH chief executive officer Andy Crane.

But at the recent WAFarmers Centenary Conference celebration Dr Crane said there were two things CBH continued to do to help retain the global reputation of WA growers as stable world suppliers of quality cereals and oilseeds.

He said cutting the cost of the supply chain to market and increasing the value of grain sold would help WA's grain industry to stay aggressive.

"I believe WA growers are the best in the world," Dr Crane said.

"Invariably, those from overseas who look to invest in the Australian grains industry arrive in our country and come to two conclusions.

"Our farmers are the best in the world and our soils are some of the worst."

Dr Crane said whether the WA grains industry liked it or not it now operated in direct competition with the Ukraine, a country with some of the most fertile soils, lowest input costs and highest crop yields in the world.

"The Ukrainian grains industry has set production benefits," Dr Crane said.

"It has its own path to market so it's really important, more so now than ever before, that WA remains competitive in that space."

He also said consolidation would prove to be one of the largest headaches for the WA industry.

He cited commodity trading giant Glencore's recent successful bid for Viterra as an example.

"On the eve of industry deregulation in Canada, Glencore has bought Viterra because it's a very attractive Canadian asset," Dr Crane said.

"Viterra also has some very attractive Australian assets.

"These are big deals being done by big companies and it creates other noise and other impacts within the wider global grains industry."

He said other "noise" included prospective interest in GrainCorp as proven by its dramatic share price rise in recent weeks.

"So whatever the world is throwing at us, we need to work together to keep WA grains on the global map," Dr Crane said.

"CBH, its growers and WAFarmers are championing the interests of grain producers and using their own businesses to create and return value to their members.

"If we do this together then I'm sure we're going to be here for another 100 years at least."

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Jock Munro
30/03/2012 7:41:57 PM, on Farm Weekly

What a pity that even CBH with its co-operative grower focus turned against the single desk when the system was under attack. It would appear that Mr Crane is discovering that the real world is far removed from make believe theory. I reckon we are going to get done over by the Ukraine and others because we are losing our core advantage of quality and service.
31/03/2012 4:23:20 AM, on Farm Weekly

Andy, maybe you need to improve the quality of your wheat, the only advantage the majority of your wheat has is freight. Most markets see your stuff as low filler and it wont get any better by ignoring the elephant in the room, hypre is one thing facts another.
X Ag Socialist
2/04/2012 7:13:21 AM, on Farm Weekly

The Ukraine and other wheat growing country's will continue to improve there wheat quality and exporting capability Jock , that's a fact . We have to meet the challenge infighting and looking backwards is not going to be of much use .
Jock Munro
2/04/2012 5:59:03 PM, on Farm Weekly

No X Ag Socialist,the removal of the single desk was looking backwards,(by sixty years). Legislation was what made our industry so successful and it will now take a form of regulation to fix it.
Bushie Bill
3/04/2012 7:10:12 PM, on Farm Weekly

It is not necessary for you to change, Jock. Survival is not mandatory.
Jock Munro
4/04/2012 7:07:37 PM, on Farm Weekly

Bushie Bill, Thank you for your very kind and considered words.


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