Agribusiness buzz in brief

Agribusiness buzz in brief

Burdekin rice grower Allan Milan with Queensland's LNP Deputy Leader Tim Mander and SunRice operations manager Peter McDonnell after the Opposition party's mill funding promise.

Burdekin rice grower Allan Milan with Queensland's LNP Deputy Leader Tim Mander and SunRice operations manager Peter McDonnell after the Opposition party's mill funding promise.


A quick check around the grounds at what's been happening and what people are talking about in agribusiness


Burdekin rice mill hopes

Queensland's state election campaign has extracted a $10 million commitment from the Liberal-National Party to help bankroll an extension to SunRice's Brandon mill in the state's north, if it wins government.

The expansion would allow 25,000 tonnes of rice to be processed annually - tripling current output and underpinning about 50 jobs in the Ayr district.

SunRice operations manager Peter McDonnell said the expansion would be a game-changer for the industry which had seen significant investment from the company in the past six years, but the rain-grown tropical rice sector was still finding it "a hard slog" to build momentum.

Managing director Rob Gordon said the $10m kick start would allow SunRice to proceed with its Burdekin region plans, opening the door for growth towards a 100,000t annual harvest.

A bigger SunRice mill would also have increased storage and processing capacity for other grains including mung beans, maize and sorghum.

"There is a huge opportunity to build a new agricultural industry of scale in North Queensland, providing another crop option for farmers and jobs in value-added manufacturing," he said.


New rural land player

Former CBRE agribusiness chairman John McKillop and other CBRE sales identities have taken lead roles in new national property transaction and development agency LAWD.

Melbourne-based LAWD (Land, Agribusiness, Water, Development), officially launched in June, is now boasting a team of eight agents, including prominent southern NSW agent Colin Medway (pictured), who was previously CBREs national agribusiness transaction leader, and Wagga Wagga-based Tim Corcoran who headed NSW transactions for two years.

Past CBRE and Elders rural real estate specialist, Ian Robertson will be LAWD's transactions director.

Mr McKillop expects the team to grow to 25 by year's end, with a Brisbane office and a lineup of agribusiness sector experts, plus advisors, agents and valuers specialising in peri-urban development surrounding capital cities and regional centres.

Directors Peter Sagar and Paul Callanan, who joined from global real estate services firm Cushman and Wakefield, oversee land development opportunities in the growth corridors of capital cities and regional centres.

Mr McKillop said rural property was one sector showing appreciable promise despite the current economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

It was also spurring young people to return to the land and city dwellers to flee to the regions.

Mr McKillop (pictured) previously led, and sold down, corporate agribusinesses Hassad Australia, Clyde Agriculture and Australia's largest cattle company, Stanbroke Pastoral Company.

He chairs the Red Meat Advisory Council and is a director of Dairy Farmers Milk Co-operative, Dairy Australia, Meat and Livestock Australia and advisory director to big Victorian egg producer Kinross Farms.


McPoultry appetite

McDonald's Australia estimates it will be buying almost 17,000 tonnes of Australian chicken in 2020 following this week's launch of a new chicken products range in its fast service restaurants.

Macca's new chicken burgers and pieces line-up will feature four permanent options including the McSpicy, Parmi Burger, Chicken Salt Shaker Fries and Chicken McPieces.

"The 100 per cent Australian chicken we serve each day is already hit with our customers," said McDonald's marketing director Jo Feeney.

"We're excited to be adding four new, delicious chicken items to our menu across the country."

McDonald's spends about $700 million annually sourcing Australian produce for its 970-store network, including buying more than 15,700t of chicken last year.

Total produce volumes purchased in a typical year weigh in at about 360,000t a year.


Tech guru joins Myriota

Adelaide-based remote connectivity specialist Myriota has appointed Steve Winnall as engineering vice president, tapping his 20-plus years' experience with cutting edge technology for self-driving vehicle technology developer Baraja, Cochlear and the Australian Department of Defence.

Dr Winnall will drive product development, oversee testing and data delivery operations at Myriota, a leader in low-cost and long battery life satellite connectivity for the Internet of Things (IoT).

Myriota's technology is able to retrieve data from anywhere on Earth.

Co-founder and chief executive officer Alex Grant said Dr Winnal would work closely with Myriota's developer partners to serve a growing global customer base in the agriculture, defence, mining, utilities and transport sectors.

"He will be integral to supporting Myriota's partnerships with manufacturers, ground station operators and launch providers, optimising customer journeys to ensure our technology is scalable and works seamlessly."


Macadamia rebound

The 2020 Australian macadamia crop is tipped to exceed original expectations according to peak body, the Australian Macadamia Society, which now forecasts 42,000 tonnes in-shell (at 3.5 per cent moisture).

That's about 15pc higher than the original estimate, despite the impact of unprecedented dry conditions in the past year.

Chief executive officer Jolyon Burnett said most of the crop was now harvested and nut quality was very good thanks to substantial January rainfall in all growing regions easing the extreme conditions.


Indo export guide

Australian food and beverage manufacturers will gain important new insights and information about export opportunities in Indonesia with the release of a new, specialised guide to the market by the Australia Food and Grocery Council.

Indonesia is already a top-10 export destination for Australia's food and beverage sector and the guide will help manufacturers understand and explore new opportunities as the market grows in the wake of this year's free trade deal with Australia.

AFGC deputy chief executive officer Geoffrey Annison said the Austrade-funded guide would help Australian food and beverage exporters understand the Indonesian market with information on changing consumer behaviour, category insights, the regulatory landscape and listing key stakeholders in Indonesia.

Global and independent market intelligence firm, Euromonitor International, used local knowledge and data to develop material for the guide.

This methodology ultimately enabled Euromonitor to provide detailed information on Indonesia's economic landscape, food and beverage market landscape, supply chains and regulatory framework for import procedures.

Dr Annison said the COVID-19 pandemic had highlighted the importance and potential vulnerabilities of global food supply chains as different countires ensured supplies of essential food and grocery products were available for their populations.

It also highlighted the importance of agricultural trade in maintaining food security and stable food prices.

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The story Agribusiness buzz in brief first appeared on Farm Online.


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