NICOLA Crago, who farms in Coomberdale, between Moora and Watheroo with her husband Russell’s family, was one of many on the CBH grower study tour to Vietnam last week, taking in the official opening of the Intermalt malting plant.
She went on the tour to learn more about CBH’s investments in South East Asia and to increase her knowledge of the cropping side of things, coming from a livestock background.
“When I was back in the United Kingdom I did a degree in animal agriculture, so that was going to lead to animal consultancy on farms, but then I ended up coming to Australia instead and I am on a mixed farm where cropping is half our program,” Nicola said.
She was impressed with how Interflour and its subsidiary Intermalt was positioned in the market, ready to take advantage of growth opportunities.
“I think it is really exciting,’’ Nicola said.
“I have read in the Farm Weekly about what was going on but it seemed far away with Asia being something in the distance, but now it is real – our grain is going there and it is very exciting.
“I have learnt so much about the structure of CBH and how that works, what the directors do, their function and how important they are.
“It has been interesting seeing the whole process of how Intermalt works, as well as the Interflour factory and just going to Vietnam and seeing a new country – it has been exciting.”
Nicola’s comments were echoed by fellow grower Noel Heinrich, Carnamah.
“I wanted to go over and have a look at what CBH has done,” Noel said.
“I was sitting on the fence as to whether it was a good idea or not, but it is amazing and the ability to go forward is just incredible.
“We are in at a ground level and in a market that is just going to explode and if we do things right, the take-home pay is going to be incredible.
“I thought we had just invested in a bit of a flour mill in the middle of nowhere and that the chances of increasing production was going to be hopeless.
“I always thought these guys (CBH) were backwards but they are probably more forward-thinking than we are.”
Tim Barndon, west Kulin, admitted he had limited knowledge about CBH investments.
“It was good to see what they do and where the wheat and barley goes, what actions are undertaken for milling and malting and looking at business opportunities with Vietnamese people,” Tim said.
“I didn’t know anything about the malting and milling and it is good to see how they have done it – it is quite impressive.’’
Tim crops 2900 hectares with his parents and said barley was a big part of their rotation.
He said the tour was an eye-opener and encouraged other farmers to apply for future tours.
“A lot of growers should probably try and get in (the tours), it gives them a better understanding of where their money is going, as well as the process of barley, the different qualities and varieties,’’ Tim said.
“There are going to be good opportunities for WA growers – we need to jump in, have a good look and get on board with a lot of stuff like this.”