SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — GrainGrowers, an organization representing 17,000 grain farmers across Australia, has commissioned a research project designed to determine if Australian farmers are growing the most profitable wheat.
The project, titled “Quality of Australian wheat: Is Australia producing the most profitable quality of wheat?” will gather information and views from across the grains value chain. Researchers associated with the project will look to answer the following questions:
• Is Australia producing a quality of wheat that maximizes grower profitability and value to the industry?
• Does Australian wheat quality meet customer demands?
• Do opinions of wheat quality differ along the supply chain?
• How has the shift in export destination affected the quality requirements for Australian wheat?
• How have the changes in the domestic market affected the quality requirements for Australian wheat?
• Are effective market signals delivered through the supply chain to growers and grade RDE organizations?
GrainGrowers has enlisted agricultural consultant Richard Williams of grolQ to conduct the project.
“GrainGrowers wants to know if Australia is producing the most profitable quality of wheat, and what is required for the future,” said Michael Southan, chief executive officer of GrainGrowers. “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 labor 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% of wheat exports with half our exports now directed to South East Asia and a further 20% to North Asia.”
Southan said a recent survey conducted by GrainGrowers found that while growers seemed to understand the importance of quality they did not necessarily believe that buyers adequately pay for quality.
“Fifty per cent of growers said end product functionality was the most important quality attribute, compared to only 10% who said protein was the most important,” he said. “But interestingly only 24% said end product functionality was the most important quality attribute driving their profitability. More than 70% of our survey participants believed buyers did not adequately pay for wheat quality.
“Nearly 100% said yield was of high importance to their wheat farm profitability, compared to only 63% who thought quality was of high importance to their wheat farm profitability.”