THE CHAIRMAN of one of Australia’s major grain farmer lobby groups Grain Producers Australia (GPA) Andrew Weidemann said he will not be asking for government assistance to manage the current collapse in wheat prices.
International wheat futures prices have fallen 19pc in the past three weeks, with some analysts predicting further falls.
The levels of the fall are similar to the 22pc fall in milk solid prices since April which have sparked widespread outcry and calls of support for the nation’s dairy farmers from the general public.
However, Mr Weidemann said grain producers had one key advantage over the dairy sector in that they were marketing a non-perishable product.
“We can store our grain for some time and market it later, with hopefully better prices.”
Mr Weidemann acknowledged with the world glut of wheat that it was unlikely there would be a near term rally in prices, but said he felt most farmers would hang on to at least a portion of their grain in the hope of a price rise in 2017.
He said GPA was currently talking to the banking and lending sector on the issue, saying bank loans to allow farmers access to cash flow that would let them store grain rather than sell at prices little over the cost of production in order to generate operating capital would be critical to the sector.
“We see this as a better way of managing the issue rather than pushing for some sort of short-term relief from the government.”
“For the long-term health of the industry, it is not good to simply go looking for a hand-out when we have these sorts of problems, which, just like droughts, are going to emerge from time to time.”
“I think the banking sector has real scope to get involved here and help growers get the best returns for their grain they can in a tough marketing environment.”