Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Business & Farming


Rinehart offloads pastoral station for more than $30m

Mining magnate Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Agriculture has sold Nerrima Station for more than $30 million, and a further two pastoral stations Ruby Plains and Sturt Creek ... The 203,000ha Nerrima Station, 480,000ha Ruby Plains and 316,000ha Sturt Creek in Western Australia’s Kimberley region were put on the market after Hancock Agriculture and S. Kidman & Co revealed in November last year plans to sell its pastoral holdings comprising eight properties spanning 1.9 million hectares.


The Winemaker – Picking a winner

As a producer in our highly competitive industry it's important and difficult to keep up with the market. For over 20 years we tried to sell Rose. We made different styles, different grape varieties, fancy packaging. Our Rose wines won numerous show awards. We tried targeting various markets: women, young  people, the gay market. But we were pissing into the wind. So we gave up. Then Rose took off. Wrong place, wrong time.


Inland Rail civil works agreements to bring on billions in investment for New South Wales

The Australian Rail Track Corporation has progressed agreements with Laing O’Rourke (Freight Connect) and Acciona CPB Joint Venture (ACACPB JV) for the detailed designs and civil works construction planning for critical sections of Inland Rail in New South Wales. These companies will now seek partnerships with businesses and skilled operators that can support delivery ...


Future looks bright – solar investment to reduce reliance on diesel

Weipa's solar farm will triple in size as Rio Tinto looks to reduce its reliance on diesel power generation in Cape York. The mining giant has approved a new solar farm and battery storage in a move that will more than triple the local electricity network’s solar generation capacity and help provide cleaner power to Rio Tinto’s operations.

Price hit

Housing and high cattle prices hit meatworkers

High cattle prices and the housing crisis have led to changes at the casino Food Co-op. Shifts have been reduced and the co-operative plans to build worker cottages on site. Chief executive Simon Stahl said the price of cattle was too high for the meat processing plant.


Cane crushing reaches half-way point

The NSW Sugar Industry has just passed the half-way point for the 2021 cane crush, having enjoyed favourable weather conditions, reliable transport and factory operations and a positive sugar price outlook. To date, the three North Coast mills have processed some 850,000 tonnes of locally grown cane.

Paddock to plate

Micro abattoir offers solutions

The Pattisons, from 'Minmi' at Burraboi, market their beef directly through the Pattison Pastoral brand, tapping into consumer demand for sustainably raised beef with provenance. Hayley is excited by the opportunities the new micro abattoir will bring. “It will do wonders for my brand to have local processing ... With my paddock to plate business, the welfare of the animals is so important."


Mischievous mice

Mice have been a reoccurring theme for Darcy Hare in this year’s canola crop. “This will be our fifth treatment, four from the ground and a fifth from the air,” said Mr Hare. The Hare family have 290 hectares of canola planted and the mice have damaged 60% of their crops reducing yield by an estimated 15-25%.


Mice forum charts a way forward

More than 200 farmers, industry and government representatives have united to chart a way forward against a spring surge in mice activity as the state looks to reap the benefits of a record harvest. Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall said it was invaluable to have all stakeholders together for the latest updates and to discuss key issues with farmers ... Listen to the recording.


WA cattle industry to reduce the regulatory status of Johne’s disease

The WA State Government is working with the Western Australian cattle industry to reduce the regulatory status of Johne's disease cattle strain (C-strain) after infection was confirmed on a cattle property in southern WA.


$15.1 million to address timber shortages with bushfire salvaged softwood

The Australian Government has announced an additional $15.1 million investment to deliver bushfire-affected softwood to underutilised timber mills, and increase supply of structural timber to the housing and construction industry. Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia David Littleproud said the government had listened to industry’s concerns to keep product moving.

Boost for domestic softwood timber supply

The domestic softwood timber industry in NSW has received a significant boost with the NSW Government directing Forestry Corporation to divert selected softwood log exports impacted by the China trade embargo, to domestic markets. Deputy Premier and Minister responsible for Forestry John Barilaro said this will see at least an additional 270,000 tonnes of timber enter the domestic supply chain over the next three years.

New plant in Tarpeena

A Tarpeena timber mill has announced it will be creating more jobs in the region with the construction of a new manufacturing facility at its existing site. This month, Timberlink will begin developing a treatment plant to produce Light Organic Solvent Preservative (LOSP) treated timber.


Gunn Agri scoop up avocado orchard after smashing harvest

Fund manager Gunn Agri Partners has picked up an avocado orchard in northern NSW, looking ahead to higher retail prices for the popular fruit after this year’s massive harvest. The group has paid $11 million for the orchard despite avocado prices plunge from as much as $4 to just $1 each this year as strong seasonal conditions in Western Australia particularly created a bumper crop ... Gunn Agri bought the asset for a European institution with a mandate to invest in permanent Australian crops assets.

Queensland investor drives to Narrabri Club Motor Inn

The Club Motor Inn has been sold for $4.5 million, nearly 18 months after owners the Narrabri Bowling Club entered into voluntary administration ... Narrabri lies in the heart of the Namoi Valley, around six hours’ drive and 568 kilometres north west of Sydney, in what is an agricultural and administrative centre that is being transformed into one of the state’s largest gas mining regions.


Packhorse Pastoral plans to rope in $1.5bn of cattle stations

Australian cattle property investment firm Packhorse Pastoral Company has opened its second fundraising as part of plans to buy $1.5 billion worth of rural agricultural land and build mass-scale land regeneration with carbon upside.


Another pub for sale in Casino

The pub on Casino’s busiest roundabout is up for sale. No one is saying how much it is expected to sell for but Hotel Cecil is on the market ... In 1919, the Cecil was cut into pieces and dragged by a bullock team to its current site on Centre St. This is the first time in 45 years it has been on the market.


Basin plan to crack the nut in Central Queensland

Minister for Resources and Water Keith Pitt joined Member for Dawson George Christensen in Mackay to officially announce the North Bowen and Galilee Basin Strategic Basin Plan. “The Plan supports industry to develop the region’s major gas resources and is the second to be delivered under the Government’s Strategic Basins Plan Program,” Minister Pitt said.

Rare earths

State’s first vanadium mine a new era for Queensland’s resources sector

A vanadium mine in Queensland's remote northwest will pioneer production of a globally sought-after new economy mineral, supporting up to 400 regional jobs. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Resources Minister Scott Stewart and Multicom Resources’ chief executive officer Shaun McCarthy jointly announced the go-ahead for the $250 million Saint Elmo mine near Julia Creek, in the state’s North West.

South Australian battery mineral project receives Major Project Status

Minister for Resources and Water, Keith Pitt, has announced that Renascor Resources Ltd has been granted Major Project Status for its $209 million Siviour project, which includes a graphite mine and concentrator located in the Eyre Peninsula and a downstream purified spherical graphite (PSG) manufacturing facility located in Port Adelaide. The Project is now on track to become the first in-country integrated graphite mine and battery anode material operation outside of China, positioning Australia as an important participant in the global battery industry and electric vehicle markets.


Rural and agricultural land values outstrip residential by 3 per cent

According to the latest ANZ Agri InFocus report, rural land value growth has been outperforming national residential property value growth by a 3% average for the last five years. While the ABS has found that rural land has increased in value by more than 30% in the three years to June 2020.


Agricultural sector going full steam ahead

Australia's agricultural production is anticipated to reach a record gross value of $73.0 billion in 2021-22, breaking the $70 billion mark for the first time in history ... Herron Todd White’s latest Month in Review report further highlighted the gains being made across Australian agribusiness and the regions which are leading the industry in innovation.


Plevna Downs East changes hands after 86 years

Scott Bates and family of Wallumbilla have paid $15.5 million for the fully exclusion fenced Plevna Downs East in south west Queensland, with the Augathella property selling at a record rate of $2,474 per hectare.

Farmland harvest strong returns

Australian farmland returns totalled more than 15% over the 2021 financial year, as the sector benefitted from strong seasonal conditions and commodity prices. The latest quarterly Australian Farmland Index from the Asian Association for Investors in Non-Listed Real Estate Vehicles (ANREV) showed income contributed 5.33% and appreciation return 9.36% to the total.

Smart agriculture

Satellites helping with NT mango harvest

Images beamed back from space are helping Territory farmers plan their harvests including to predict the equipment and number of staff that may be needed. The 3-year trial is winding up this harvest and has studied images of mango trees at different stages of growth to help estimate whether farmers are in for a productive season.


Landholders urged to be on the lookout for Fireweed

Lockyer Valley Regional Council is urging landholders to remain vigilant for Fireweed. Lockyer Valley Environment Portfolio Councillor Michael Hagan said the invasive weed has the potential to severely impact agriculture in the region if it's not removed from pastures.

Smart ag

New research hub to transform Australian agriculture with next-gen smart fertilisers

A new multidisciplinary Australian Research Council Research Hub for Smart Fertilisers at the University of Melbourne will develop a new class of fertilisers and inhibitors for Australian farmers. 


Agriculture looks to record-busting year

The agricultural sector is looking at another record-breaking year, with the gross value of production (GVP) forecast to reach $73 billion in 2021-22. ABARES Executive Director Dr Jared Greenville said if the forecast in the Agricultural Commodities: September Quarter report proves to be accurate, then it will be the first time the agriculture sector has been valued at over $70 billion."


Look out for locusts this spring

With bumper crops on the horizon for much of the state, Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall has today urged landholders to be on the lookout for locust activity this spring and report any sightings immediately.

Wool processsing

MiniJumbuk’s local investment

Gabrielle Duykers. Wool processing factory MiniJumbuk is planning a $500,000 expansion for its Naracoorte retail shop in an effort to attract more tourists ... Marketing manager Darren Turner said the business wanted to create an “engaging” experience for visitors. “You’ll be able to walk out into a safe environment and see manufacturing happening. We want to be able to show how things are still made here in Australia.”

Rental market

Council’s initiative aimed at easing housing burden

“There is a terrible lack of rental accommodation in town at the moment and this is something we have identified to see if we can do something about it,” says Cook Shire mayor, Peter Scott. “We’ve been talking to super funds and investment companies about the prospect of investing money into the blocks and building them for rent.”


Macquarie Crop Partners high yield for Lawson Grains

Macquarie has sold its 105,000 hectare Lawson Grains portfolio for more than half a billion dollars to Sydney-based New Forests and Canada’s Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo). The portfolio comprises more than 70 assets – or 10 aggregations – across Western Australia and New South Wales that Macquarie Agriculture had collected since the fund’s launch in 2012.


Farming industry get drought resilience help

“For over a century, CSIRO has been working with farmers and governments to improve life on this great land – but today we’re bringing all of our newest science and technology, from Artificial Intelligence to genetics and smart materials, to bear on overcoming our oldest national challenge – drought,” CSIRO chief executive Dr Larry Marshall said.


Melbourne duo splash $80m for Byron Bay watering hole

Hollywood celebrity and billionaires playground Byron Bay has seen the biggest pub deal this year after Melbourne duo Scott Didier and fintech founder Scott Emery bought the Great Northern and Lateen Lane properties from the Mooney family for $80 million.


Low dollar a boon for agribusiness

Strong month-on-month price increases for most commodities saw Australian agribusiness industry conditions rise to record levels, according to Rabobank, and key drivers are expected to hold out to the December quarter. The latest Rabobank Rural Commodity Price Index rose by another 3.26% in August to its highest-ever reading.


Wine Australia Update 2021

Wine Australia recently held its annual update on the current state of play for the Australian wine sector. Hear all about it by watching the replay.

NSW Farmers

“Enormous potential” for agriculture in NSW

The opportunities and the potential of the NSW Agriculture sector to grow to $30 billion by 2030 came through loud and clear at the NSW Farmers online Annual Conference. “The prospects for increasing local food and fibre production are abundant, with 94 percent of the state out of or recovering from drought and strong commodity prices,” said NSW Farmers President James Jackson.  


“Excellent” season and booming commodity prices see nation’s buoyant farmers defying broader COVID economic uncertainty

A second consecutive year of good seasonal conditions and high commodity prices is helping shield Australia’s farm sector from the broader economic uncertainty of COVID-19, with farmer sentiment surging in recent months, according to the latest quarterly Rabobank Rural Confidence Survey. The survey reveals Australian farm sector confidence is at one of its highest levels in the survey’s history due to ongoing positive seasonal conditions and exceptionally-high commodity prices, with more than 90 per cent of Australian farmers expecting the current conditions to continue or improve further over the coming 12 months.


NSW Farmers calls for clarity on alternative protein products

NSW Farmers told the Senate Inquiry into Definitions of Meat and other Animal Products that alternative proteins will be part of our future, but the word "meat" needs to be protected and that plant-based proteins should be banned from using words like "meat', "beef", "lamb" and "milk".

Inter state agreement

Seasonal worker agreement extended with Victoria

The Tasmanian Liberal Government has agreed to continue its landmark quarantine arrangement with Victoria which sees Tasmania quarantine seasonal workers from the Pacific Islands, in return for the Victorian Government assuming responsibility for Tasmania’s commitment to assisting Australians returning from overseas.

Farm labor

Worker reforms welcomed by NSW Farmers

NSW Farmers welcomes efforts by the Australian Government to streamline the Seasonal Worker Program (SWP) and the Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS) under the new Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme, providing a simplified process for farm businesses to access the schemes.  The Government’s commitment to bring an additional 12,500 workers from the Pacific region by March 2022 to work in Australian sectors including agriculture will help alleviate the workforce shortage crisis continuing to threaten the productivity of farm enterprises.

Hydrogen exports

Port builds North Queensland’s hydrogen future

Minister for Resources and Member for Townsville Scott Stewart said the Port of Townsville was a key piece of infrastructure when it comes to developing hydrogen exports. “Sun Metals is one of Townsville’s most innovative businesses and it’s exciting to have their sister company, Ark Energy, plan to export renewable hydrogen to South Korea from Queensland’s publicly-owned port,” Mr Stewart said.

Hydrogen hub

Whyalla firming as hydrogen hub

City of Whyalla Mayor Clare McLaughlin said council welcomed the Federal Government’s commitment to hydrogen production on Eyre Peninsula, further augmenting the State Government’s investment in infrastructure and projects that will support Whyalla as a “mega-green” hydrogen hub.


NSW puts foot on the green gas with hydrogen platform

The rollout of the State’s hydrogen hubs is set to be accelerated, with the establishment of a collaboration platform to bring together potential hydrogen producers and users.

Queensland’s first hydrogen cars hit the road

The rubber has literally hit the road in Queensland’s push to become a hydrogen superpower. Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen Mick de Brenni has taken the covers off the first hydrogen vehicles to hit Queensland roads, five Hyundai Nexos that join QFleet from Monday, with distinctive, Indigenous-inspired designer decals.