The last few weeks have highlighted Australia’s extremes – devastation in the north-west while grain producers across the state pray for much needed rain. Late summer crops are barely hanging on, with quality issues and reduced yields from earlier plantings. Producers are looking to build their moisture profile to enable winter planting.
But climatic factors are just the tip of the issues iceberg. Other questions the Queensland grain industry is grappling with are: What happens if it’s another low production year on the east coast? How do we deal with the feed market shortfall? Do we import grains from overseas or continue to buy from Western Australia? How can we ensure our biosecurity status is not compromised? AgForce and Grain Producers Australia are pushing government hard for solutions to these issues.
The establishment of accurate stocks reporting is vital. Without this, the producer, the trader and the end-user are all guessing. It is a lot of work, but it is certainly a better option than importing high risk grains. If we do import grain, however, we must ensure government remains hyper-vigilant to maintain our reputation as a world-class producer of disease-free grain. This is the only way that, in big years, we will continue to be able to access export markets. We also need to ensure government’s drought response supports grains as well as livestock. For instance, we are pushing the Queensland Government to remove stamp duty on insurance products like multi-peril crop insurance. This is a disincentive for producers to proactively manage their own risks. And, with transport representing around a third of our production costs, AgForce will work with government to ensure our freight networks are efficient as possible, as this underpins our competitiveness. AgForce has appointed two experienced and motivated directors from south-east Queensland.
- Brendan Taylor, AgForce grains president