Feed grain looming as vital WA market

Feed grain looming as vital WA market


Agribusiness
About 40 growers and agribusiness professionals joined the Grains Research and Development Corporation expert panel to discuss a potential future for feed grain variety development, at an event in Geraldton.

About 40 growers and agribusiness professionals joined the Grains Research and Development Corporation expert panel to discuss a potential future for feed grain variety development, at an event in Geraldton.

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FEED grains could be the market WA supplies in the future as the world's reliance and demand for red meat grown locally increases.

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FEED grains could be the market WA supplies in the future as the world's reliance and demand for red meat grown locally increases.

The need to meet the needs of this market was a discussion point among a group of growers and agribusiness professionals at a Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) event held in Geraldton two weeks ago.

The event formed part of the national panel series "Farming, the key to Australia's future" which also covered other topics key to grain growing in Australia.

Industry commentators Kim Halbert, Karl Suckling and Duncan Young drove discussion for the evening.

Mr Halbert, who farms in Eneabba and is a GRDC deputy chairman, said grain growing to feed the world extended to grain for human consumption and for livestock feed.

"In WA we're pretty self sufficient, most of our grain is exported, it's important that we have a profile that we grow the grain to feed the world, particularly Asia," he said.

"As demand grows and Asia becomes more affluent, demand is shifting to eating more meat and they need more grain to produce the meat than they ever did to eat grain."

Mr Halbert said there was no doubt supplying Asia was a big part of WA's grain industry's future due to the geographical freight advantage, but also potentially due to an adaptive market.

"We've been having some talks in the past few weeks with (grain variety) breeders and there's certainly possibilities if we can get sufficient yield increases to make it worthwhile to grow those feed varieties," he said.

"But obviously they'll have to be segregated from our higher quality lines.

"There's potentially a big market in Asia for feed wheat.

"If we can get sufficient yield increases then that (market) may well be worth going into."

Mr Suckling said grain growing was keeping rural communities alive and with a clear need for feed grains, grain growing would be a constant in WA.

"The cost price squeeze is getting closer and closer the whole time for grain growers," he said.

"Farms are getting bigger and communities are getting smaller.

"We're always going to need food and meat is going to be the massive boom in the world in terms of agriculture, however they're going to need something to feed that meat.

"In other countries around the world, they're going to feedlot our animals, grow them locally and they're going to need grain to feed those animals.

"I see that as being the big future in grains, to feed the beef especially in those countries where they can't free range the beef."

Mr Suckling said the present and the future of grains were equally important in his eyes.

Keeping in mind variety breeding has a long lead time, five-year planning needed to begin now.

Mr Young said the need for feed grain for livestock could also grow locally in the next decade, predicting an increase in feedlotting in WA for niche markets.

He said markets requiring specific needs such as the Middle East and Halal requirements could be catered for through local feedlots using local feed grain and meat being killed and boxed on home soil.

"You're not going to be travelling a long distance in freight from where we're actually producing the feed grain to the feedlot,'' he said.

"I can see it's going to become more integrated and (it needs to be) more on a local level."

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