When South Australian grain grower Stan Hayles contributed his annual planting to this year’s AWB national crop survey, he certainly didn’t expect to get the $5000 winning phone call.
“I thought it was a telemarketer – I almost didn’t answer it,” he said with a chuckle, while catching up with Ben Fargher, General Manager AWB Origination, who presented the national prize at the recent Yorke Peninsular Field Days, Paskeville.
The fourth-generation farmer now lives in Adelaide, but keeps a close eye on his property at Curramulka on the Yorke Peninsula, which his son Martin manages. Combined with leased land, this year the Hayles are cropping 850 hectares of Mace/Yitpi wheat, Commander barley, Clearfield 45Y82 canola, Jumbo lentils and Gunyah field peas.
“It’s been an excellent season,” Mr Hayles reported, “We are on target to meet our production goals of 4.5t/ha for wheat, 4.4t/ha for barley, 2.3t/ha for canola, 2.4t/ha lentils and 2.5t/ha field peas.”
The Hayles forward-sell about a third of their harvest, so he maintains a close interest in AWB’s marketing activities and was only too willing to participate in the national crop survey.
“I think a lot of farmers don’t always make the time to fill out email surveys, but I think it is important to contribute. AWB needs to know the production figures so they can provide the right services,” Mr Hayles said.
Mr Fargher made the trip across from Melbourne to his home-state of SA to catch up with Mr Hayles and the local team. The annual crop survey was reinstated in 2013 after a two-year break, and he said AWB plans to run it annually as a key planning and decision making tool.
“We had a really good response to the survey across Australia’s grain growing areas, and the information will be used in several forms,” Mr Fargher said. “Growers can use the information to make marketing decisions this harvest as well as planting decisions next season. The survey results will also assist AWB to make informed decisions about grain and oilseed segregations at each of our GrainFlow storage and handling sites, and gives us greater confidence in our domestic and international sales and marketing program.”
Mr Fargher said the crop survey reflected the national seasonal conditions, with strong production in Western Australia, a potentially record-breaking outlook for South Australia, positive forecasts for Victoria and Southern NSW, and very dry conditions in northern NSW and Queensland.
Growers who contributed to the national crop survey planted 533,515 hectares of wheat, 125,738ha of barley and 129,576ha of canola. Based on five year national averages, this snapshot represents 4% of the national wheat crop, 3% of the national barley crop and 6% of the national canola crop. Wheat planting is up 3% on last year, barley is up by 13% while canola is down by 8%.
While Mr Hayles took out the national prize, the five state winners who each received an iPad were:
• NSW state winner – Robert Blacker, North Western
• VIC state winner – David Hucker, Central Highlands
• SA state winner – Michael Heath, Eyre Peninsula
• WA state winner – Edward Somers, Midlands
• Qld state winner – Barry Price, Fitzroy
In the two years since Cargill took over the AWB reins, Mr Fargher said the business is evolving to present exciting grain marketing opportunities for growers.
“A core focus this year is our GrainFlow business, to ensure it provides exceptional service to our customers. In particular, we are targeting turn-around times for growers so they can get grain off in a timely manner.
“The Dynamic Binning Strategy, will continue to give customers flexibility if their product is just outside specs.
“AWB is also releasing some new risk management products, to ensure there is a marketing option to suit everyone. As part of this initiative, we will offer a greater range of options than the traditional pool structure, such as a season starter pools and shorter dated pools. This suite of products reflects the diversity of Australia’s grain industry.”
He said AWB’s 30-strong national field team have set their sights on providing a high standard of service at 22 grain delivery sites across the country, to provide accessibility, expertise, and most importantly – safety.
More information: AWB toll free Grower Services Centre - 1800 4 GRAIN (1800 447 246)