There was a hugely emotional speech given by Ukraine Grain Association president Mykola Gorbachov at the Australian Grain Industry Conference held in Melbourne last week.
The Ukrainian people are extremely resilient but there is only so far resilience will get you in the harsh reality of war. Critical infrastructure is being bombed, cropping country is being bombed, people are being bombed.
How lucky we are to be in Australia.
For grain markets, in the short term this means there's very high scepticism over whether the Ukraine grain corridor agreement will yield any meaningful flow of grain from the area.
Most can't see how anyone's going to be prepared to take on the risk of executing boats given the environment remains actively hostile, there's damage to infrastructure, and Russia is unpredictable.
The United States Department of Agriculture's estimate of 10 million tonnes of exports from Ukraine and 40mt from Russia appears optimistic.
In the medium term the war will significantly impact plantings for the next harvest and possibly years to come.
Internal Ukrainian stocks are likely to increase significantly, the economics of growing crops are negative, and the complicated system of leasing small parcels of land could become less organised if the incentive isn't there for coordinated farming organisations.
There is also a large clean-up process associated with clearing unexploded bombs which are estimated at 20 per cent of all bombs dropped.
Another more local topic of robust discussion at AGIC was price discovery for grain in Australia.
There was an appreciation generally that supply chain constraints are contributing to the large variability in prices we have seen between Australian port zones and values being traded internationally.
In my view, while price discovery in Australia is being focused on a "published bid" which is "indicative" in most cases, it will rarely reflect the full and true value of Australian grain.
Buyers are not obligated to publish a bid for a grade in a location that they have no interest in purchasing, nor should they be.
Yet there seems to be an expectation that buyers should be providing a bid, and that they should be willing to buy at those levels.
Any market has a bid and "offer", and the Australian grain industry needs to get better at showing the offer side.
Growers have the power to offer grain for sale at the price they want and let all buyers try to buy it rather than accept the published bids of a handful of buyers.
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