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One year update of Progressive Agriculture
For the past year, I’ve been doing fee-for-service work and trying to nut out how I can earn more than selling limited time will allow. This has meant juggling welcome project work with pursuing business opportunities.

I’ve now set up an agricultural management services company with a longer-term strategy in place. A lot of parcels of money smaller than institutional investors deal in are looking for safe assets, including Australian agriculture. I think these funds should go towards productive agricultural businesses, rather than underutilised land treated like real estate. The snake oil salesmen will be chasing this money, so developing structures to make sure it reaches skilled farmers are important. Hopefully I can progress this further in the coming months.

Thanks very much to my clients for supporting Progressive Agriculture, and please keep calling with fee-for-service jobs, I still need to eat!


Andrew Bomm
 
Prices
Murray above choke temp water is a little firmer at around $120/ML, as is below choke water at around $135. The easing IVT situation shows our early prediction of trade heading north is bearing out. Bidgee prices continue to firm to $140, with plenty of cotton demand and as yet underwhelming allocations.

Vic Hume spill
The Victorians are giving NSW some water at the moment as their half share of Hume Dam is spilling into the NSW portion, before a physical dam spill has occurred. If inflows can continue to exceed Victorian irrigator demand then this dividend to NSW will persist in the form of increased allocations.

Matthews report
Ken Matthews has delivered his report dealing with the allegations from the recent Four Corners episode, alleging water theft and poor compliance enforcement from NSW DPI. The thrust of his report was to recommend a new agency to manage compliance for water users. Given that most of water in the southern connected system is metered through irrigation companies, this seems like an expensive response for irrigators to a problem affecting limited parts of the system.
 
A better outlook
The latest BOM climate update is completely on the fence re above or below rainfall likelihood – much more positive than they were predicting a month ago. They are now giving these updates every fortnight, rather than once a month, which is a step in the right direction. AV Weather is still predicting a late winter/spring with cold front activity potentially delivering rainfall to the Riverina. However, his four-week forecast isn’t great.

Despite a more positive outlook, Agfarm recently reported that:

“While it is hard to get a complete understanding on the scale of the damage, it is significant. Several farmers both north and south of Wagga Wagga, reported anywhere from 40-80% crop losses in particular areas, and barley seems to have been hit the hardest. As a result of these expected production issues, markets have certainly firmed, especially in the last few days, as both buyers and consumers are left to ponder how difficult it might be to buy any significant new crop tonnes ahead of time.”

 
Riverina politics heats up
The by-election in Murray will be a fascinating contest that at a local level reflects what we saw in last years’ US election. In one corner, you have Helen Dalton, a Trump-style populist telling people what they want to hear about how bad everything is, against Nats candidate Austin Evans, wanting to engage voters on the practicalities of getting outcomes from the established political system.

Despite the Griffith economy (where most Murray voters live) being in great health, it’s a hard gig for the Nats. For many voters, aligning with a values-based politician is easier than getting across the policy detail of multiple complex issues covering many shades of grey, and subject to competing interests. If Evans can’t articulate why a pragmatic approach is more effective than hurling rocks with little effect, then Dalton will win.

With optional preferential voting in NSW, the Nats also need to encourage ALP voters to just stick a ‘1’ in the box, rather than continuing on and putting a ‘2’ or ‘3’ next to the Shooters. In past elections, the Nats have tried to split the left with signs at the polling station that read “Voting for the environment? Just Vote 1”. A similar strategy targeted at Labor issues would help prevent preference leaks to Dalton this time around.

 
Multi-peril crop insurance
Graingrowers have put out an excellent publication on the current state of multi-peril crop insurance in Australia. Here it is.
 
Check It Out Here
Shooters or Nats in Murray?
The NSW seat of Murray by-election betting has the Nats at $1.72 and the Shooters $2.10. The unreliable preference flows at NSW state elections makes it harder for minor parties to secure ALP preferences, but the Shooters are still good value.
 
Fact checking
Don’t be put off by the presenter, this is interesting stuff about why people don’t change their views in the face of facts. You can listen or watch.
 
Listen / Watch Here
Reddit is worth visiting
It’s not quite social media, but much of what first appears on Reddit from the world’s thought leaders ends up in your Facebook and Twitter feeds. Here is a great article from Bloomberg on what’s happening in Chinese agriculture that I found on Reddit.
 
Check It Out Here
How they used to sack footballers
This is an amazing clip covering St Kilda coach Tony Jewell’s sacking of Mark ‘Jacko’ Jackson in 1983.

 
Watch Here
Export forum
For those interested in developing export opportunities in fresh food, this event in Wagga on 20 September (short notice sorry) is worth a look.
 
Check It Out Here
Follow @progressiveagri on Twitter
Our mailing address is:
andrew@progressiveagriculture.com.au

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Progressive Agriculture · 13/120 Fitzmaurice Street · Wagga Wagga, NSW 2650 · Australia

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