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TAS Country : August 12th 2010
Friday, August 13, 2010 Tasmanian Country 13 Global shift sparks cereal demand KAROLIN MacGREGOR Wheat is certainly much more of an attractive option at these sort of prices.' A MAJOR jump in wheat and barley prices during the past two weeks could prompt more cereal crops to be sown in Tasmania this season. A severe drought in Russia, which makes up 30 per cent of the world's export market, and plans by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to ban exports has pushed wheat prices up $40-$50 a tonne during the past fort- night. Prices on the Chicago Board of Trade for wheat futures jumped to a two year high of $315 after the initial export ban was announced. Difficult seasonal conditions in other major grain growing regions such as Canada and parts of Europe have also seen lower than normal grain harvests. These developments have driven Australian east coast futures prices for January 2011 to $291 a tonne for wheat and $276 a tonne for barley. Flowerdale grain grower and con- tractor Greg McDonald said many farmers did not realise how closely local grain prices were linked to the global market and the Chicago Board of Trade wheat futures. Mr McDonald said the price jump showed how quickly changes on the world market could flow through to a local level. ''You take 30 per cent out of the global grain supply and everyone starts to get a bit frightened,'' he said. Mr McDonald said the jump in wheat prices had also delivered a lift in feed barley prices and malt barley would most likely increase to more than $300 a tonne. He said a reluctance by the state's major malt barley users to announce a price earlier in the year could now mean they had to pay farmers more to secure their required malt barley supplies. Mr McDonald said with grain prices rising, the margins of growing cereals this year were looking a lot better. He said some north west farmers had already contacted him about the possi- bility of growing cereals this season. ''Wheat is certainly much more of an attractive option at these sort of prices,'' he said. ''When you start to look at the poppy prices after a 7.5 per cent drop, some people are saying the margins between the two are fairly similar.'' Mr McDonald said farmers who had already sown wheat crops during autumn could now be rewarded with some good returns. ''The wheat that was sown around here in autumn looks really good,'' he said. Mr McDonald said many producers in major grain growing areas of NSW were having their best season for decades and were well positioned to take advantage of the better prices. Good rains in many parts of Victoria and NSW this week have also boosted hopes of a bumper harvest this season. ''The locusts could be an issue for them up that way, but I think they have pretty much got it under control,'' he said. However, one issue that has been affecting mainland grain growers has been a shortage of Urea. Mr McDonald said the country's major fertiliser companies were wary of having too much stock on hand after fertiliser prices fell from record high levels two year ago. He said while conditions in the state's north west were currently too wet for planting it would be interesting to see what crops farmers planted when things dried out and the season progressed. Rural Internet wait to be long From Page 11 ''Not because of the you- beaut technical side of it but because the areas that aren't covered by the fibre are going to get coverage from upgrades to the old satellites and access to new satellites. ''They will get speeds 20 time faster than dial-up. ''Most of our farmers are looking to get access to those technologies that everyone else takes for granted.'' Stage one of the fibre rollout at Midway Point, Smithton and Scottsdale will be completed by the end of August. Stage two goes to Deloraine, George Town Kingston Beach, St Helens and Triabunna. Fibre will be rolled past homes and residents will be asked if they want ''build drops'' installed. A fibre line will run to the home from the build drop after consent from the owner. ''We build them at a time we have construc- tion crews in the area,'' Mr Campbell said. ''Later on, if people change their minds and want the connection they can still get the service but we put in a demand drop when they ask. ''If they don't take ad- vantage of a free build drop while we are in the area and want a con- nection there may be a charge involved bringing a crew back to do the job.'' Stage-three communi- ties are suburbs in Hobart, Burnie, Devon- port and Launceston. ''If this whole network proceeds as the Labor Government wants it to, everyone in Australia will have access to either satellite, fixed wireless or fibre to the premises,'' Mr Campbell said. ''It would be a shame if anything brought up by a new government reduced the benefits.'' Interstate alert for huge locust plague EXPERTS warn the worst locust plague in 75 years will hit Australian farms 10-14 days earlier than pre- viously expected. Australian Plague Lo- cust Commissioner Chris Adriaansen warned far- mers to be prepared. He said the peak date for hatchings in northwest NSW was August 21. Substantial hatchings in northwest Victoria are ex- pected to occur from Sep- tember 25 and further south around October 21. Kerang grain grower Geoff Kendell, who lost up to 65 per cent of some of his crops to locusts in autumn, said he expected a worse plague than in 1978 and had a plane on standby. ''We are sitting on a tsunami at the moment,'' he said. ''We have a mass of eggs, they have laid them every- where, thousands and thousands of hectares. I am not going to mess around, they did too much damage last time.'' Mr Kendell said egg batches could be found everywhere; in fields, on bare rock, and on the railings at the local post office. The Weekly Times time for a little tough love. e ve ee tal i g ool si e . It s time to get the industry talking. Michell Direct, a new direction in taking your wool to global textile and fashion markets. We re making a stand by opening our business and 140 years experience in the wool and textile industry directly to wool growers. We ll keep you informed, we ll give you feedback and we ll work with you in finding new markets and developing new products for your wool. At the end of the day we want to get you a better sale price for your wool, yarn or fabric by working together -- Directly. Wool and textiles are our core business and have been for over 140 years. To have your say or to get in early and hear what we have to say, cont t t Michell Direct Wool. 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