Recent comments by: Bosco

Agribuzz with David Leyonhjelm

  Duelling duopolies 12 Comments 12
I'm confused. Australia is going to become wealthy by becoming a food bowl for countries whose imported food is lining our supermarkets shelves. What the? Let's stop importing other people's food and start eating our own food. The countries we say need Australia to be their food bowl can stop exporting their food and start eating it themselves. Everyone fed. Everyone happy.
02/09/13 07:32 AM
Read these two books. The world can already feed itself. But it's more profitable to keep one half hungry and the other half thinking they might miss out. tting-On-Famine-Why-World-Still-G oes-Hungry-Jean-Ziegler/dp/159558 8493/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp =1789&creative=390957&tag=130489b 2r-20&creativeASIN=1595588493&lin kCode=as2 om/Merchants-Grain-Profits-Compan ies-Center/dp/0595142109/ref=sr_1 _1?ie=UTF8&qid=1377744444&sr=8-1& keywords=merchants+of+grain
29/08/13 03:03 AM
Good point Stuart. EC Interest Rate Subsidies created some interesting borrowing trends in areas that were reliable enough to still be producing enough grain to be making a motser out of grain prices, but had deviated enough below farm / district average. The shed companies loved it.
26/08/13 10:51 AM
Thanks Jack. Interesting that you mention Gordon Gekko. Whilst not necessarily corporate raiding, what does tend to happen (as we have seen in Australia over the last 20 years) is when an industry is suffering break-down (i.e. business model needs updating, systems are failing, industry is stagnant, innovation slows, productivity flattens, terms of trade shrinks etc) it becomes the feeding ground for mid-market participants that wait for industries to be at a weak point & then pounce. In absolute terms, they picked up a bargain & tell their corporate mates all about it at the polo club.
02/08/13 08:16 AM
What investors don't like is our business model. It is yesteryear and the management decisions (and commensurate results) are yesteryear. Countries like Brazil adopted a whole-of-chain model which attracted a lot of investment. Consequently, they are now kicking everyone's butt in export markets. What we need from the Politicians down, is a new breed that don't wear tweed - but we've seriously lost their engagement. There are certainly pockets of brilliance in Australia where individual businesses have outstanding business models. Our poor business models are a cheap takeover target.
01/08/13 11:36 PM

Get Muddy

The plight of the Australian farmer - one of Australia's oldest fables.
19/11/13 10:56 PM
Australian farmers have just as much equipment for 4000 acres.
05/09/13 03:40 AM
Love The Country, what's your definition of deservedness? The market will not pay you for your effort. It will only pay you for the deserved value of your wheat. So unless your wheat is strikingly different to all the other farmers producing mountains of the same product all around the world, then I'm sorry but you may need to reconsider what you are doing, because like it or not that is the compromise of the business model you are running. The only way to get rid of those compromises is to change what you are doing - which brings another set of comprises. It's called running a business.
30/07/13 10:48 AM
so many of the same businesses, all trying to produce the same thing in such a fragmented industry. Put simply, it is now neighbor versus neighbor to survive. Regrettably, we have now lost the chance to add value because our industry did not globalise aggressively enough when we had the chance, penetrating newer and wider markets with value added products. Food, wool or resources, we have always been content to stuff as much as we can onto a boat at the going price. We are not going to be anyone's food bowl, only their food quarry.
11/07/13 08:46 AM
There are too many farmers & we are experiencing the pain of more natural attrition. Australian farming has always been in the tonnage business, not the value creating business. All the industry ever talks about is productivity. Constantly focusing on productivity at the farm level without giving attention to the overall path to market (value chain) is not sustainable. You will not make it on productivity alone, unless you are simultaneously adding the value that will generate the profits required to pay for the expensive production system. The end result is the industry can not sustain
11/07/13 08:36 AM
Captain Average, your description of the business position of many farms is exactly what we are discussing here. That is, your strategy is not bankable. Given your "decade of drought, restricted irrigation, burnt out & flooded" situation, tell us what you have changed to make your business bankable? Alternatively, if it's that persistently bad, why are you still trying to make it work? Either way, you can't answer those questions without scaring off the next generation.
09/07/13 06:02 AM
Richard, your implication that Sam will be shot for having an opinion is nothing short of disgusting. Thank you for making his point. No wonder the younger generations view agriculture as the industry that time forgot.
08/07/13 11:52 PM

A matter of opinion

Australia has been outpaced and outflanked into newer and wider export markets. For example, The US Wheat Associates recently conducted an international report into what the wheat industries in their competitor countries are spending on export market development. Needless to say, Australia certainly poses no threat to them.
11/07/13 11:11 PM


Most of the major organisations involved in the world's food system are still owned by families, including co-operative food production and marketing giants. Australia's food system was once owned by farming families. Everyone sold out. Now our participation in the global food industry is less than 1%. If Australia's reputation for what it produced gave it such a global marketing edge, why did our producers not have the long-term vision of their overseas counterparts and maintain ownership of infrastructure, marketing arm etc
28/12/13 12:40 AM
With respect, I don't hold much faith in the report I just read.
24/12/13 04:11 AM
Maybe I was pointing the finger at certain people in a certain generation that are lamenting some poor business decisions - having now brought the business and the family to it's knees. Think it's called the 3 phases of farming. The grandfather builds the business. The father cashes it up. And the son spends it all. But it's not just primary production. Throw in a cashed-up high net-worth business, a couple of consultants and it's spend spend spend, borrow borrow borrow, expand expand expand. 5 years later there's nothing left. The parents can't retire. And everyone cries fowl.
19/12/13 09:18 PM
But Rob the average Australian household struggling to meet weekly commitments did not inherit an asset worth several million dollars. So the average worker is protected in Australia. Farmers are not the average worker. They have a substantial asset base which for many includes multiple off-farm assets. Many farmers live the life of 5 kings. Maybe get some urban householders to show farmers how to budget and save and stop spending and borrowing. Don' ever say the plight of the Australian farmer is at dole level.
13/12/13 12:42 AM
Thanks GFA. I contributed to the Blueprint as an industry participant by attending their forums, completing their surveys etc. I have also researched the Blueprint and it's process in great detail. If your questions are asking what the Blueprint said about the issues you raise (i.e. state-of-play / needs analysis of industry) then all of your questions are answered in the Blueprint. If you are asking what the Blueprint said will actually be done about these issues, then no, your questions are not answered. BJ's TermOfRef for Ag White Paper is a cut and paste from all the others before it.
11/12/13 11:13 AM
Spot on Cocky. Our obsession with scale and productivity is a dangerous game. Expensive, high-input industrial farming systems have a lot of compromises in Australia. In many other countries they do work - and these are the nations that are starting to beat us in global markets. Most often scale and productivity is driven by those wanting to groom farmers as consumers of inputs.
09/12/13 09:33 PM
Thanks GFA. The Blueprint was an exhaustive and lengthy consultation process with Government, industry, stakeholders and community. It documented an industry strategy out to 2020 under the following 7 key themes: 1.) Innovation, RD&E 2.) Competitiveness 3.) Trade & Market Access 4.) People 5.) Agriculture within Society 6.) Natural Resources 7.) Transformational Issues. Whilst agriculture may not be expecting direct 'subsidies', make no mistake that under things like the Blueprint and the National Food Plan the sector is expecting that taxpayer money will be used to fund growth, not theirs.
09/12/13 09:28 PM
But we just had the Blueprint for Australian Agriculture that was supported by DAFF. Why are we now spending more money doing this process again?! What's wrong with the Blueprint paper?
09/12/13 06:14 AM
As per the history of most of Australia's agricultural infrastructure, it was the farmers that sold-out initially. But current shareholders are not allowed to? WIIFM when you're a shareholder - fine, bring your argument either way. WIIFM when you're not shareholder - not sure why you'd be wanting a voice.
22/11/13 12:39 AM
What has happened to the Blueprint for Agriculture and the National Food Plan? Have the results of the Year of the Farmer been calculated? And so on and so on. Too many suits n boots.
21/11/13 11:19 PM


Once again, there seems to be a big gap between what grower representative organisations say growers want, and what growers say they want.
31/12/13 12:37 AM
Whatever your view on the topic of stocks information, the final report is generally very poor and lacks the robustness required to provide the competing needs of stakeholders with any real strategic direction.
27/12/13 05:01 AM
There should be a survey of Australian farming parents to find out what % of them would happily feed their family a range of GM foods. Find out what the farming mums say? The results might clash with what the person in charge of production wants.
04/12/13 10:23 PM
I can not believe what I am reading here. Non-shareholders scuttle a significant investment and business improvement opportunity and then put the hand out. The industry that time forgot!
03/12/13 11:54 PM
Clean and green was only ever our reputation. It was never our assurance. We are now being asked to prove it. We are about to get busted.
25/07/13 07:29 AM
Of greater concern is the increasing trend for the 'off-label' application of chemicals by primary producers and their consultant agronomists. If ever there was a measuring stick for the industry's "attitude towards chemical stewardship" that is it. We could well blow an export market because of it.
08/07/13 10:23 AM
All growers have easy access to CBH financials.
Some simple financial analysis using such tools as basic ratios will provide growers with the information they need to draw their own conclusions as to how efficiently they think the supply chain is operating.
16/04/13 02:17 AM
More to it than just herbicides.......but as Australian farmers continue to be groomed as consumers of inputs and finance, industry focus will remain on selling the remedy, not the solution.
27/02/13 07:00 AM
Certainly not. That was not the implication of my comment. Just a description of the role. Apologies if it came across otherwise.
13/09/13 08:04 AM
These guys are paid to accumulate grain for the lowest average price. That's all.
13/09/13 05:55 AM


Interesting. How ACCC handles this could be the final make-or-break on their reputation and existence.
13/12/13 12:20 AM
Thanks GFA. I've been dwelling on how to answer your questions with only 600 characters available and then a new article called Smug Attitude Costly appeared (link above) and that pretty much sums it up for me. Far too often we hear about the plight of the Australian farmer sitting at the end of the line. There is much about this industry that should start with the farmers - but doesn't due to an innate inability to visualise the food system (export & domestic) past the farm gate. Many of the global food giants so feared in Australia are private companies still owned by farmers for 100+ yrs.
04/12/13 09:59 AM
This has been simmering for a while. A small nation of competing interests that is really feeling the pressure right now. We ARE viewed as the industry that time forgot. We are a far-flung corner of the global food system that can't even be bothered to fake it 'till we make it. Sure, let's take up the debate following Howes' words. But be ready to be seriously put back in our place. We are failing to achieve what a well-functioning industry should be achieving across so many different fronts it is globally embarrassing. We are the whinging breed in tweed - or at least represented by them.
02/12/13 07:58 AM
"We have a social obligation to help mitigate production risks for farmers" I beg your pardon!! There is absolutely no public interest in having the Government use taxpayers money to subsidise a farmers insurance bill. Go back and rethink your pitch.
26/08/13 10:32 AM
Hey guys - nothing wrong with a strong debate in these forums. Agreed? However, I think it's time we weed-out those who deliberately and persistently denigrate and lower the tone in these discussion forums. It's up to online communities like this one to say "hey, this is how we roll, you're not meeting our standards, please move on".
02/08/13 07:56 AM
Nice one Fleur. We need a new breed without the tweed. A lot of RM William boots walk up and down Collins Street, King William Street and Martin Place - but don't go much further!!
02/08/13 03:12 AM
Nice one Over You BB. These forums have the potential to be an excellent place for public discussion, conversation, debate, new thinking & ideas. These forums have been become very tardy & not a good image for Rural Press. I'd like to see the moderators clean up these forums and re-promote them. They might be the incubator for a cutting-edge idea or strategy for the industry or someone's individual business. Let's all make the effort, including the service provider.
01/08/13 10:48 PM
What does it matter if it needs to be sold or not? Someone wants to buy it and the people that own the thing want to sell it to them? Those that are legislated to perform due diligence on behalf of the community have done so. What local investment money? Van Diemen's Land Company has spent almost 2 years trying to find local investment money - what is a small amount in international terms. Of all the products to invest in, dairy, the boom product in Asia and no one in Australia cares.
01/08/13 07:47 AM


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