National grains representative body, GrainGrowers, yesterday announced that it has commissioned a research project to find out if Australia is growing the quality of wheat which gives grain farmers the best returns.
At the Australian Grains Industry Conference in Melbourne, GrainGrowers CEO Dr Michael Southan said the organisation had commissioned agricultural consultant, Dr Richard Williams from groIQ, to deliver an unbiased and independent report by late 2018.
Dr Southan says GrainGrowers’ objective is simple:
“GrainGrowers wants to know if Australia is producing the most profitable quality of wheat, and what is required for the future,” Dr Southan said.
“Dr Williams from groIQ will work with participants from across the grains value chain to help answer this question.
“GrainGrowers wants to know if Australia’s wheat quality meets the needs of our customers, both domestically and overseas. We also want to know how effectively customer needs are being communicated back to growers, to enable them to grow the most profitable wheat that best supports their investment in land, machinery, input and labour costs.
“GrainGrowers is interested in understanding how changes in both domestic and exports markets have influenced the quality requirements of Australian wheat, and how this has affected the value of different quality traits. For example, Australia used to supply the bulk of wheat into the Middle East and Africa (MEA) in the early 2000s. However, now MEA accounts for less than 17 per cent of wheat exports with half our exports now directed to South East Asia and a further 20 per cent to North Asia.”
Dr Southan said that a recent survey had shown that growers appear to understand the importance of quality to customers, but overwhelmingly they don’t believe that buyers adequately pay for wheat quality.
“Fifty per cent of growers said end product functionality was the most important quality attribute, compared to only 10 per cent who said protein was the most important. But interestingly only 24 per cent said end product functionality was the most important quality attribute driving their profitability,” said Dr Southan.
“More than 70 per cent of our survey participants believed buyers did not adequately pay for wheat quality.
“Nearly 100 per cent said yield was of high importance to their wheat farm profitability, compared to only 63 per cent who thought quality was of high importance to their wheat farm profitability.”
The final report will be delivered at GrainGrowers’ formal dinner on 17 October to celebrate the organisation’s 60th Anniversary.
“GrainGrowers encourages all participants from the grains value chain to contribute to this project, to explore whether Australia does indeed produce a quality of wheat that maximises grower profitability and maximises value for the broader Australian grains industry.”
Dr Southan said the research confirmed that GrainGrowers was continuing to work on behalf of growers to serve their needs.
“Our organisation was founded by a group of growers who worked to be rewarded by the industry for the high quality wheat they were able to grow in north west New South Wales. The Premium Wheatgrowers Association (PWA), which would go on to become present day GrainGrowers, was incorporated in Narrabri on 22 August 1958. After years of hard work by PWA, wheat segregation was introduced and premiums for quality began to be paid to farmers. This was the most positive change for growers in the industry at the time.”