The North West Harvest Guide 2016

Welcome to the North West Harvest Guide 2016. It’s fair to say the big wet of the late winter has turned a promising growing seson into something of a mixed bag for the region’s farmers. And that affects the harvest. What will happen? WIll it go ahead on time, or, more likely, a couple of weeks late? What will it mean for those who have planted chickpeas in expectation of a great crop at great prices? Will there be a bumper harvest, or a big cotton crop next year to make up some losses? These and other questions can only be answered by time. But as the harvest begins to gather momentum, one thing remains constant. The harvest brings a major injection of money into the local district, again underlining the area’s dependence on agriculture as its economic engine. Farmers of Narrabri Shire and the wider region are fortunate to be served by many specialist businesses which support the industry from selling, growing, harvesting to delivery and warehousing.

The North West Harvest Guide 2016
The North West Harvest Guide 2016
The North West Harvest Guide 2016
The North West Harvest Guide 2016
The North West Harvest Guide 2016
The North West Harvest Guide 2016
The North West Harvest Guide 2016

From Narrabri to the world

Some of the AGT team at the Narrabri West plant, from left, Dean Russell, Kevin Morley, Matt Hall, David Kneale, Tim Finn, Nathan Alexander and Scott Stoltenberg.

AGT Foods Australia, a division of AGT Foods, is headquartered in Toowoomba, Queensland — one of Australia’s largest production areas for pulse crops, with state-of-the-art production facilities in Horsham, Victoria; Bowmans, South Australia; and Narrabri, New South Wales, as well as cleaning and exporting facilities in Kadina, South Australia. These facilities feature cleaning, sizing, splitting, colour-sorting, and packaging capabilities for lentils, chickpeas, yellow peas, faba beans, broad beans and specialty crops.The AGT Foods Australia Narrabri facility is a packing, handling and export facility which draws product from across the west and northwest. The facility was originally purchased by Australia Milling Group in 2012, but from September 1 last year as part of the global company’s rebranding the business began trading under the name ‘AGT Foods Australia’. The core business of AGT Foods Australia remains the same: sourcing and supplying premium-quality pulses and cereals, representing the AGT Food and Ingredients group of companies in Australia. AGT Foods buys lentils, peas, beans, wheat, sorghum and chickpeas direct from local farmers and are an active exporter to all geographic regions, serving a network of customers in the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia. AGT Food and Ingredients was founded on the following mission statement, based on the operational philosophy that has made all areas of the group leaders in food products: “To provide clean and quality product with reliable and timely shipments, competitive pricing and flexible delivery arrangements for bulk, bagged and packed pulses and foodstuffs. “Our commitment to supply guaranteed quality to our clients is ensured through comprehensive production, execution and quality control.” The Narrabri facility employs 38 people locally, with 900 people employed by the company worldwide. AGT Foods and Ingredients is one of the largest suppliers of pulses, staple foods and food ingredients in the world.

Many reasons to choose

THE MANY FABRICATION AND ENGINEERING TEAM: Scott Hoade, Lincoln Smith, Tim Bartlet, Matthew Mansour and owner Glenn Many.

Many Fabrication and Engineering is available for all your light and heavy metal fabrication needs. The Gunnedah-based business is a family-run operation owned by Glenn and Katie Many. Mr Many started out in the trade as a 15-year-old, firstly in Gunnedah before moving to Narrabri and then back to Gunnedah again.


Past roles include trailer and fuel tank production, heavy earthmoving and agricultural fabrication, as well as pressure welding and working with structural steel. He decided to go out on his own more than three years ago, and the Manys opened the doors of their new business in May 2013. This month Many Fabrication and Engineering relocated to a larger premises next door to the old premises. The new premises has a store front. The workshop is fully set up with three service trucks.


From stock crates to trailers and much more besides, Many Fabrication and Engineering can do it all.

Many Fabrication and Engineering has a workshop available in Gunnedah for cutting, folding and rolling of sheet metal. It offers custom metal fabrication, repairs and maintenance and on site welding. The company specialises in trailers, fuel tanks, cattle/sheep handing and feeding equipment, sheds, earthmoving equipment, utility and truck trays, and irrigation system fabrication. The company is also able to offer a comprehensive mobile welding service for all your on site needs. It has available a number of the largest diesel driven welders/generators /air compressors available, a crane to lift up to 1.5tonnes, and numerous tools and equipment. Many Fabrication and Engineering, which also employs two apprentices, can offer a fast, efficient and reliable service. For more information, see the advertisement below.

Broaden your wheat options with Sunmax

The release of Sunmax, developed by Australian Grain Technology, is especially relevant as it adds significantly to the choice of varieties available for early sowing. Ongoing research continues to highlight the potential big yield gains and more profitable production available from early versus mid or late sowing. However to minimise risk, especially from late winter-spring frosting, early sowing requires slower maturing varieties. Slower maturing varieties such as Sunmax generally head around the same time as many of the quicker-maturing varieties sown later in their respective sowing windows. Advantages of early sowing with appropriate varieties includes commonly deeper and more developed root systems, higher potential yield for many situations and better able to cope with wet winter conditions if well-established before semi waterlogging occurs. Senior AGT wheat breeder Meiqin Lu reports that Sunmax is a long season spring variety slower in maturity than Sunbri and Sunzell and slightly quicker than Sunbrook and has Australian Prime Hard (APH) classification for the northern zone. Other important attributes include an excellent level of stripe rust resistance based on both major and multiple minor APR genes. Stem rust resistance is also good although leaf rust resistance will need careful monitoring as its rating is lower. It also has good tolerance and resistance to crown rot and root lesion nematodes (P. thornei) and seed will be available for sowing in 2017. Coolah will also be available for sowing in 2017, has the pedigree of EGA Gregory and is similar to EGA Gregory in most traits, but in NVT trials has shown a two per cent to nine per cent yield advantage depending on the zone. Compared to EGA Gregory and LPB Flanker, Coolah is slightly shorter in stature and has improved straw strength, with greater standability resulting in improved harvesting speeds and fewer harvesting losses. Coolah, like EGA Gregory, is suited to end of April into May plantings.

IA Watson Grains Research Institute open day

Back, operations manager James Bell, University of Sydney dean of agriculture and environment Alex McBratney, Graingrowers northern region coordinator Susan McDonnell, front Australian Grain Technologies senior wheat breeder Dr Meiqin Lu.

One of the local highlights just before harvest time is when the University of Sydney’s Plant Breeding Institute’s IA Watson Grains Research Institute, based near Narrabri, holds its annual open day. The day, held this year on September 7, was an opportunity for farmers and other interested locals to find out what goes on at the world-renowned institution. Institute director Professor Richard Trethowan said that field days were the most efficient way to showcase the innovative and cutting-edge research that was being conducted at the institute, all focused on big problems that are faced in the north west. “There are other ways of getting these message out,” he said. “There are papers, contributions to the GRDC ground cover magazine and field day talks in other places. Having a field day ourselves is vital to getting the message out that research is happening and make people aware of new developments.”Technical developments on display yesterday included a weed destructor, drones and robotics.


Director of IA Watson Research Centre, Narrabri Plant Breeding Institute Richard Trethowan, West Research Foundation board of trustees Ray Hare, and director at PBI Peter Sharp.

Getting farmers a larger slice: Rain-Ag serves up a larger piece of the supply chain pie


Tim Whan, Rain Agribusiness grower services manager for northern NSW.

Cementing its place as a serious player in the agribusiness sector - thanks to its trademark innovation and fresh take on industry options – is Rain Agribusiness, which has brought a unique farmer-focus to the grain marketing sector on behalf of its customers. Since Rain-Ag was established three years ago, the team of four (Tim Whan, Ian Grellman, Peter Horton and Andrew Tout) have firmly held onto their company ethos, striving to give farmers a larger slice of the supply chain profits. Narrabri-based Tim Whan said that the industry continued to go against the farmer, who out of necessity are price-takers, struggling in a system that’s stacked against them. ‘’A great example of this would be a recent conversation I had with a cotton grower who (as a side business) is farming Murray cod in his storage dams,” Mr Whan said. “His costs included all of the infrastructure (ie) dams, aeration systems, feed, staff, etc and then the 18-month growing time. These fish are then sold to the buyer for $18/kg – and that buyer turns around the next day to on-sell those same fish for $36/kg.“It’s crazy. And this is typical of the supply-chain disparity we are constantly striving to address and change for the farmer. Whether it’s grains, cotton, pulses or any other commodity – we need, as an industry, to keep our farmers viable and increase their share of the supply chain profits.

“It’s not just about the bottom of the supply chain (where the grower currently sits by default), it’s about working closely with other supply chain participants to create efficiencies wherever possible”.Rain-Ag has close working relationships with a number of major buyers who pay an agency fee in return for service allowing them to work on behalf of farmers ‘Free of Charge’. “Our customers are viewing us as part of their team, and this is great as it allows us to work with them collectively, and with more power to generate better ideas and better results.,” Mr Whan said. A recent example of the Rain team’s industry innovation is in cotton, where the company has enabled growers to sell their cotton ex warehouse rather than the current industry norm – ex gin. “Why should farmers be forced to sell cotton prior to ginning whether they like the price or not, and furthermore be subjected to a predetermined P and D schedule which is not necessarily reflective of the actual market value for the product,” Mr Whan said. In this example Rain-Ag has moved the grower further along the supply chain and that means more opportunity - and hopefully more money in the primary producer’s pocket. “Once again, in this instance we need to work closely with other supply chain participants such as the ginners and the merchants to ensure a smooth transition to the new system and a net benefit to the industry,” Mr Whan said.

Out and about at IA Watson institute open day

Alex Fawcett of Edgeroi and University of Sydney’s William Salter.


University of Sydney PhD student Makhdum Azam Ashrafi.


Independent Australia’s John Cameron and Narrabri Roth Rural’s Guy Roth.
University of Sydney Plant Breeding Institute director Peter Sharp and chair of northern panel for the Grains Research Development Corporation John Minogue.

Getting ready for a bumper harvest

Viterra’s Narrabri site is preparing for a record chickpea crop this season.

Viterra’s Narrabri site is increasing receival and export efficiencies for chickpeas in preparation for a record crop this season. Chickpea production has risen significantly this year due to high demand from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The export market aims to move these chickpeas quickly to meet demand and Viterra has ensured it has shipping agreements and containers available through the peak shipping periods of November and December. Viterra is focused on offering an efficient and reliable supply chain that connects growers and end-use customers, making Australian grain and pulses competitive and attractive in the international market. In addition, Viterra’s Narrabri site will have extended opening hours and multiple chickpea delivery points to meet both grower and market requirements this harvest. Extended opening hours will further improve efficiency at the site and allow growers and carriers to deliver when it best suits them. Two new drive over hoppers have been purchased for Narrabri to improve truck turnaround times for grower receivals. The Narrabri site direct packs most of its grain and pulses from trucks straight into containers, which are then loaded to ships bound for export markets. The site has capacity to store approximately 65,000 tonnes of grain and pulses and is expected to pack up to 20,000 tonnes into containers during November alone. For delivery enquires, call Ken Campbell on 02 6790 7100. For grain marketing enquiries, call Erin Barton on 02 6790 7109.

The ins and outs of harvest time

The recent run of wet weather has really upset the apple cart, so to speak, in the chickpea market. What was shaping up to be an enormous year is now looking rather more modest. As such the threat of washouts, and lower volume to sell at harvest than expected, has seen the chickpea market rally over $200 per tonne in three weeks. Not for the faint hearted chickpea trader this year, more rocky than a bronco... On the grain and oilseed front, canola is shaping as more of a standout sell than wheat at this point. With prices around $480 - $500 ex-farm and oil possibly better this year, this will be one to watch as harvest approaches.Wheat is shaping up as an interesting one, with wider than usual grade spreads expected. Multigrades are currently showing $55-60 discounts for SFW1 and FED1 respectively.If any growers are wanting to guard downside risk, selling SFW1 delivered end user is offering far better returns than a multigrade at present.The upside too, is pretty conservative on the multigrades at around $20-25.Private estimates are predicting up to $40 premium for APH1 at present. With problems in Europe and now Canada too, Australian growers will be sweating on some protein in durum also. As with bread wheat, there could be wider than usual grade spreads for durum this year. DR1 will be highly sort after, but a large supply of DR3 will only add to the global supply of lower protein durum. Growers will be busy where possible trying to pump up the protein with fertiliser. With dams filling and pricing opportunities around $500, cotton will be king again. Although plenty of moisture, the feed grain prices will ensure sorghum plantings will be pretty conservative. At around $900 for processing grade mung beans, this is also attracting some interest.

Ultra Lubricants helps educate locals
Donaldson Australasia’s Brett Howe discusses problems in diesel fuel.

Ultra Lubricants recently held three educational session called “clean fuel essentials” to help educate local people about diesel fuel. The nights were held to inform customers about the problems in diesel fuel related to new high pressure common rail diesel systems. The first session was held in Gunnedah on September 13, then Narrabri on September 20, then finally Moree on September 21. Ultra Lubricants welcomed Donaldson Australasia NSW and ACT territory business manager, Brett Howe (MVRIC, IAME), as well as Donaldson Australasia IH and CFLS sales manager and engineer, Deon Cilliers (board, Fluid Power Association). Both Mr Howe and Mr Cilliers analysed the fuel. Mr Howe then magnified it up on a projection screen to show particles from as small as half a micron and up. It clearly showed particles of dust, rust, metal and water in enough quantity to do extreme damage through to outright failure of common rail diesel engines. Mr Howe went through the range of cutting edge filtration systems to clean diesel fuel to the requirements suitable for common rails to be added onto bulk tanks, fuel trailers and vehicles to eliminate these very common problems. Feedback from the customers was very positive. Most said that the sessions were extremely informative, interesting and worthwhile. Meanwhile due to Ultra Lubricants opening its fourth shop, suppliers have been extremely keen to assist with pricing so they can pass on great savings like the ratchet straps for only $13.95. Normally these would sell for between $20 to $25. The range of CF Moto Quad and side by side vehicles (ATV and UTV) now includes the new Moree shop up to the Queensland boarder with strong sales particularly following Ag-Quip field days and recent rain fall. With seven speciality delivery vehicles equipped for oil delivery and four branches Ultra Lubricants is constantly delivering from Bourke, Hay, Armidale, Goondiwindi and everywhere in between. Ultra Lubricants’ keen focus on customer service, price and reliability makes it proud of what it has accomplished. It wants to continue to grow and service the local areas. It is 100 per cent Australian owned and local and is constantly supporting local communities.