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FARM WEEKLY | Better stocks information critical to grower marketing

GROWER groups are calling for more analysis on the benefits for the production sector of more stocks information, including data on crop quality.

Grain Producers Australia has been lobbying government for a wider Australian Competition and Consumer Commission review of the current port access code to include all grain.

A key component of their request has been calls for more transparent stocks reporting.

"Growers are price takers and therefore vulnerable supply chain participants," said Grain Producers Australia chairman Barry Large. "There's an ideal opportunity to engage resources that are at the government's disposal, such as the ACCC, this way we can get ahead of these issues, to safeguard growers and optimise competition in the Australian grain market."

Mr Large said he saw stocks information as important.

"The appropriate level of stocks information needed for the market to function effectively, and the independence and timing of reporting that information to the market, is an example of a lingering issue that remains unresolved.

Identifying gaps in the supply chain would create a more robust industry in the long run.

"We need this high-level analysis to identify investment opportunities - public and private - to ensure the Australian grains supply chain is fit for purpose, and designed to meet projected growth targets for not only grain growing regions, but supply to key customers such as grain exporters, millers and livestock feeding agents," he said.

Mr Large said one of the first changes he would make in terms of stocks information was to ensure it was timely and independent.

He said with more timely and accurate stocks reporting farmers would be more confident to use value adding marketing products such as derivatives, which have been underutilised by a production sector concerned about sudden turns in the market that leave them exposed.

"We believe these types of grain marketing products and services can be improved with better quality, independent market information and transparency; especially the timing and reporting of stocks information."

For their part, the leading bulk handlers have said they only believe a stocks information system would work if all those holding grain, including growers with on-farm storage, were required to participate, saying it would be a flawed system if the scheme just centred on the major grain receivers.


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