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TAS Country : March 17th 2011
10 Tasmanian Country Friday, March 18, 2011 News ABARES CONFERENCE 2011 Optimism despite high dollar HEAT ON: Potatoes under from the high dollar and import competition from Europe and NZ. An optimistic perspective on production and prices was presented at the 2011 Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences conference in Canberra, reports Andrew Heap* Fresh vegetable prices are expected to remain firm in the short term due to recent flood events in Queensland while the potato/vegetable processing sector remains under price pressure.' AN upbeat view of the year ahead prevailed at this year's conference, with most speakers, especially those focused on export-oriented commodities, confident in spite of the high Australian dollar. A return to economic growth in the US was expected to bring a modest fall in the dollar through the year to about US$0.93. Continuing growth in Asia, although tapering demand in China, and relatively low stocks of most broadacre commodities, were expected to support firm, if not strengthening, Australian dollar prices. Overall the gross value of farm production in 2011 is expected to be about $48 billion, in line with 2010, with livestock price increases offsetting grain price falls. The commodity picture in brief is as follows: Wool: The lowest clip in decades from a sheep flock in the order of 68 million, compared with 180 million 12 years ago, boosted the market indicator for 22-micron wool by about 400c/kg to about 1300c/kg over the past six months. This China-driven indicator price is higher than the ABARES forecast and was expected to ease depending on the impact of emerging inflation on disposable income. However, renewed European interest in wool as a fashion fibre and continuing high, energy-related, man-made fibre costs were expected to keep fine wool prices firm. Cotton: With prices recently pushing through US$2/lb, compared with about US$0.75/lb this time last year, supported by excellent water reserves and soil moisture, the next Australian cotton crop was expected to approach one million tonnes (a record). While some easing in prices from current levels was expected, the capacity to forward sell three years would underpin grower returns and production. Prime lambs: Prime lambs achieved record prices of more than $6/kg in recent weeks and, in spite of a modest upturn in sheep numbers mainly oriented towards merinos, would, with some seasonal movement, remain firm. Beef: Asian-driven demand for protein was expected to see prices remain at above the average of $3/kg dressed weight for most meat categories this year on relatively lower turnoff, with prices and production to increase steadily over the next few years. Wheat and oilseed: Following higher prices for grains and oilseeds in 2010, prices were expected to ease as a result of increased world production including Australian production, subject to winter crop soil moisture at sowing. A 24 million tonne wheat crop is expected at a slightly lower average price of $250/tonne. In contrast to grain prices, those for most oilseeds were expected to maintain current and possibly higher levels, driven by China demand. Sugar: Higher sugar prices, most recently in the order of US$0.30/lb, have increased industry profitability but this had been offset by reduced production and throughputs. Prices in the year ahead were expected to remain at current levels but ease thereafter. Dairy: Asian and Russian demand for dairy was expected to keep prices firm on expanded world trade in whole milk powder. This was expected to result in increased production in Victoria. The situation with future prices in the domestic milk market states (NSW and Queensland) was less certain due to supermarket price discounting. Fruit and Vegetables: ABARES does not formally forecast in relation to these commodities. However, fresh vegetable prices are expected to remain firm in the short term due to recent flood events in Queensland while the potato/vegetable processing sector remains under price pressure due to the high AUD and import competition from Europe and New Zealand. Andrew Heap is TFGA Vegetable Industry Facilitator. 2034990-110304 As an official sponsor, Tasmanian Country has exclusive distribution rights within the Quercus Grounds of Agfest For Advertising Contact Tracey Wright Phone: 62 300 752 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Carolyn Baker Phone: 62 300 640 Email: email@example.com BEWARE OF IMITATIONS *Place your advert in the ONLY OFFICIAL AGFEST edition SPECIAL OFFICIAL EDITION - CIRCULATION: 26,000 COPIES Published 29 April, 2011 includes program and site plan PUBLICATION DATE: 29 April Advertising Booking Deadline: 8 April Editorial Material Deadline: 8 April Advertising Material Deadline: 14 April 2011
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