By Robert Hedge
The high’s and low’s of agriculture have certainly been demonstrated this year through the Southern Hemisphere winter. Whilst the bottom third of the Australian continent saw a wetter than average winter, the rest of the country has experienced very dry seasonal conditions. Late frosts in some of the more significant cereal and pulse growing areas in both Northern New South Wales and Queensland has caused considerable damage, while it is now too late for any early Spring rain for many of the other areas to benefit.
The positive is, improved conditions in the Spring could provide some opportunities for summer crops and pasture improvement.
The local domestic agricultural markets in Northern Australia remain strong, with continued demand for red meat and live exports again driving confidence. In the last six months, we have seen significant demand for Northern Australian cattle enterprises, with some of the biggest names in Australian agriculture entering into joint ventures with large international players, particularly from China.
There has been strong early demand for pasture improvement and forage options, however a late seed production season has delayed many of the more popular species, which are just now coming into our warehouses and off test. This demand, coupled with the dry winter, will ensure a busy period ahead once the season breaks.
As usual, Roger has provided a snap shot of the supply situation in the "Tropical Supply Update” in this newsletter. The one species I would draw your attention to is Katambora Rhodes Grass. Quality seed is hard to find, with the likelihood of this situation continuing through until the main harvest in March/April 2018. A lack of winter rainfall in the production areas, is putting pressure on the availability of irrigation water, which means a Spring crop will not be harvested, putting pressure on current stocks.
I would like to take this opportunity to again remind all our customers about the ISF Congress in 2018 being held in my home town of Brisbane. Being a member of the National Organising Committee, I can tell you planning is well under way, and we have some exciting events and entertainment planned. One of the main benefits of the 2018 Congress, will be the close proximity of the meeting facilities to the social events and Conference Hotels. If you have any questions at all, or need advice on what to see or do when you are here, we would be more than happy to provide some recommendations.
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Please do not hesitate to make contact should you have a specific requirement, and all the best for the selling season ahead.