IT’S time to act.
This year mice are expected to reach plague proportions and cause significant damage across some growing regions in SA, Victoria. NSW and WA won’t be immune from their impact either.
They pose a real risk not only to farm profitability and yield but also to maintaining our market access.
Our grain producers have built a strong and deserved reputation – and significant international market share – on the back of Australia’s clean, safe, green credentials.
This season our reputation and continued access to lucrative markets could be severely damaged if mice find their way into the export supply chain.
Trading partners have a nil tolerance for mice – alive or dead – in our exports.
Our largest markets have put us on notice that they expect their requirements to be met – just as we expect their producers to meet ours when we import their agricultural commodities.
It is up to all producers and exporters to manage this risk.
One poor performer could derail access to an important trading partner which would destabilise the grain market for all 20,500 Australian grain producers.
Australia’s grain exports command premium global prices because of the quality and cleanliness of our product.
I know that this quality doesn’t just happen.
It relies on the hard work of producers to plant, harvest and store grain to maintain maximum quality and yield while managing pests like mice and snails as well as chemical residue levels.
It also relies on strict adherence to the processes and systems that underpin Australian government certification.
A critical part of that certification is the requirement for our exporters to demonstrate that our product is free of pests of quarantine concern.
Our producers and exporters have built Australia’s strong market share up over many years and we don’t want to see it jeopardised.
We’re a country that consistently exports more than three quarters of our wheat production so maintaining market access is in everybody’s interest.
Any disruption to market access with a major trading partner would affect all wheat producers – and the same is true for other grains.
What all those involved in the grain export supply chain can do is be especially vigilant when it comes to preparing for export.
I encourage everyone to take all reasonable steps to keep pests of quarantine concern, like mice, out of the supply chain.