THE AUSTRALIAN barley industry has warned growers planning their 2019 winter crop rotation that China's anti-dumping investigation against the Australian barley industry is ongoing and that it has the potential to impact the market this year.
China is far and away the largest buyer of Australian barley, routinely accounting for more than 75 per cent of total exports in recent years and buying an annual tonnage of between 2.61 and 5.74 million tonnes over the past five seasons.
The anti-dumping claim centres on allegations Australian exporters took grain to China at prices lower than the domestic market, which the Australian industry denies.
Andrew Weidemann, chairman of Grain Producers Australia, who, together with Grain Growers, the Grains Industry Market Access Forum, the Australian Grain Exports Council and Grain Trade Australia, put together a fact sheet on the situation as it stands, said it was matter of ensuring farmers were adequately informed before planting.
"We're not saying don't plant barley, given the odds veering in favour of a drier than average year barley will make sense agronomically, but farmers need to know there could be some issues with international markets this year," Mr Weidemann said.
"It is not panic stations in terms of selling barley by any means, it is highly likely the east coast domestic market will remain very strong, there are new feed grain markets in Indonesia coming online as a result of the free trade agreement and we are working on opening up the Indian market, but China is still an important piece of the puzzle for us."
Brett Hosking, Grain Growers chairman, said farmers needed to get advice from their marketing consultants specific to their own case.
"Everyone is going to be different, and people will have different feelings on what sort of risk profile they have, some might see the season being a bigger risk than limited sales to China and decide barley is still the best bet, it is all up to the individual."
With the research into the anti-dumping case still ongoing, possible sanctions are not yet known, but the Australian industry is warning of potential imposts suc as the requirement of securities or cash deposits, which would act like a tariff in that they will increase the price of Australian barley in China.
Mr Hosking said patience was required as the Chinese worked through their investigation.
"All the organisations that have put this statement together fully respect China's right to conduct these investigations, we will just have to see what it finds.
"We are confident that the information provided confirms our case that dumping claims are unsubstantiated and that the Aussie industry operates in an open, commercial and competitive global market.