Agribusiness buzz in brief

Agribusiness buzz in brief


A quick look around the traps at what some of the players are doing and talking about in agribusiness


Canada wine tax feud quelled

Australian winemakers have uncorked the bubbly to celebrate Canberra and Montreal reaching an agreement which removes discriminatory measures against Australian wine sales in the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia and Ontario.

Talks led by Minister for Trade Simon Birmingham, and the subsequent truce, followed Australia initiating World Trade Organisation action against Canada last year.

Canada has now agreed to remove several provincial and federal discriminatory taxes which favoured sales of locally produced wine.

Australian Grape and Wine chief executive Tony Battaglene said the deal was an important step in removing a various Canadian market trade barriers and the WTO had proved its worth in helping to "level the playing field".

Australia exports about $180 million worth of wine to Canada, a destination Mr Battaglene said had potential for significant future growth.


Nutrien buys data bridge

Canada's Nutrien Ag Solutions has acquired unique wireless data transport solution Agbridge from Scruggs Equipment Company, enabling the farm services giant to transfer precision agriculture data between equipment operating in the field and farmers' computers.

Agbridge is expected to give Nutrien crucial data transfer and management capabilities to enhance field-level support and field-specific data access.

It will collect paddock data from Nutrien Ag Solutions' equipment, and transfer it wirelessly to a central, cloud-based repository to inform more precise agronomic recommendations and decisions.

Agbridge co-founders Don and Kevin Klas have joined Nutrien Ag Solutions to lead the technology's implementation within North America.

"Agbridge adds new capability for Nutrien Ag Solutions to build out our precision agriculture platform and provide new levels of insights and service to our customers," said chief executive officer Mike Frank.


Cargill sweetens Asia market

Cargill is partnering with a manufacturer in western India to launch its first chocolate manufacturing operation in Asia.

The facility should be operating by mid-2021 and will initially produce 10,000 tonnes of chocolate compounds.

"Asia is a key growth market for Cargill," said Cargill Cocoa and Chocolate Asia-Pacific managing director Francesca Kleemans.

"We aim to become the leading supplier and trusted partner for our bakery, ice cream and confectionary customers in Asia."

Cargill first established its cocoa presence in Asia in 1995 in Indonesia with a team supporting trading and supply management of cocoa to its processing plants in Europe and Brazil, then opened a cocoa processing plant in Indonesia in 2014.


Nufarm trading year adjusts

Crop chemical business Nufarm is shifting its financial year end from July 31 to September 30 to better align the half-year reporting period with its key sales periods and improve business comparisons with its industry peers.

The company will report full-year results for the 12 months to July 31 on September 23, and then will have a transitional results period from August 1 to September 30 to be reported in November.

Nufarm's earnings are currently weighted towards the second half of the financial year, which is an imbalance likely to become more pronounced following the sale of its South American business three months ago.

An annual general meeting covering the year to July 31 and the transitional period to September 30 will be held in Melbourne on December 18.


Smaller SunRice board vote 

SunRice's annual general meeting on August 28 is to include a proposal to reduce the size of the farmer-controlled company's 11-director board.

The plan to cut the company's director numbers has been supported by the Rice Growers Association of Australia and the Rice Marketing Board of NSW.

However, the changes will not dilute the board's grower director majority.

The AGM, which was to be held in Jerilderie, will now be an online affair because the company is concerned Jerilderie is too close to the Victorian border and an AGM crowd could be difficult to socially distance and vulnerable to ongoing coronavirus outbreaks.

The closed NSW border would also prevent Victorian shareholders attending in person.


BOQ man to StockCo

Former Bank of Queensland business banking boss Doug Snell (pictured) will take over as chief executive officer of livestock finance specialist StockCo Strategic Agrifinance.

Mr Snell's extensive agribusiness finance background includes eight years at Commonwealth Bank of Australia where he was state manager for Queensland and NT, and he managed the bank's agribusiness team targeting corporate and post farm gate agribusiness.

At BOQ he established the bank's agribusiness division and helped establish StockCo's banking facility with the bank.

He will be working closely with the StockCo team to accelerate growth and farmer borrowing solutions in Australia and New Zealand


Rebus offers capital options

New Victorian-based financial services firm Rebus Capital Partners has launched to offer advisory services and solutions across corporate and specialist industry sectors including agribusiness, food technology, construction and pharmaceutical.

Owners Krissy Huxley and Tom Chirnside say the company has formed to fill a gap in the capital funding space because businesses now look beyond traditional channels to access capital and fund growth.

The Geelong firm offers a suite of services ranging from advisory and asset funding to core debt, working capital acquisition funding and debt restructuring.

"Krissy and I have worked for many years in these specialist sectors and know each have their own characteristics and challenges," Mr Chirnside said.


MLA voter details needed

Meat & Livestock Australia producer members are urged to return their levies notice to ensure they secure full voting entitlements for any ballots held by the company in 2020-21, notably for its November 19 annual general meeting.

MLA levies notice packs have been mailed to red meat producers offering them an opportunity to secure entitlements at the AGM, based on levies they paid in 2019-20.

To ensure members receive their voting entitlement they must complete and return their personalised levy notice by September 21.

Managing director Jason Strong said MLA wanted as many producers as possible actively engaged in this important process.

The levies notice is the first of two packs MLA members will receive in coming months.

In October they will get an AGM pack which contains voting entitlements and a proxy form for those who cannot attend the meeting in person.

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