Do you run a great business?


Do you run a great business?

As business owners we are expected to just ‘know’ all the ins and outs of running a business but on the whole we stumble through and learn as we go along with mixed results.  Regional businesses are also at a distinct disadvantage in terms of access to training that can help us to improve the way we run our businesses.  Farmers are great at growing crops or raising stock but that is only one part of the business of farming just like marketing grain, cotton and pulses is only one part of AgVantage Commodities.  We also need to possess management, HR, marketing and accounting skills just to name a few.

Over the past 18 months we have committed ourselves to learning more about the other parts of the business in order to improve and build a better business that is of value to our clients and can help their businesses.  We have been fortunate to meet some amazing people through our education and there have been some that we feel could be of enormous benefit to our grower clients and their farming businesses.

Access to business education is a definite issue for any of us outside of major centres, which is why the Great Manager’s online People Management and Leadership program is a huge step in the right direction for regional businesses.  We were fortunate to meet Sandra Wood and Cameron Burgess who run this program during the Strategic Entrepreneur program we did last year and we are going to do their program ourselves.  They are also very supportive of educating regional business and have offered their foundation program to us and our clients for half the normal price at a very affordable $97/month for 12 months.

This course is run entirely online with 26 weekly  30-60 minute training videos, workbooks and audio recordings allowing the flexibility to fit it into your own busy programs.   All you need is an internet connection.

If you are interested in improving how you run your business and/or making your employees more productive I encourage you to click on the link below.   From here you can sign up or go through to the Great Managers website to find out more on the course outline.




AgQuip Round Up


AgQuip 2After a cold and blustery start to AgQuip 2013 we had great success introducing our new products to growers that passed by the stand Next Instruments kindly shared with us.

Matt & Phil from Next Instruments were with us to show off their grain testing equipment and we certainly benefited from having them on hand to increase our knowledge of their products and see them in action.  For anyone with on farm storage, these analysers will help to extract maximum value from their storage investment and their grain enabling wiser blending and segregation decisions.

Erin drew out Mark Wise from Mullaley as the lucky winner of the Next Instruments Sievematic Grain Shaker.

The Eagle- i Kwik Kleen grain cleaner we had on hand to show off was of interest to many growers.  The price and operation speed of the Kwik Kleen ensured a constant stream of questions to Steve, Erin, Chris & Jake.   We look forward to giving demonstrations of this product in the next month at our Pre Harvest Grower Meetings.

We also had Alistair Tubb from Ag Hub Industries with us to introduce their range of Superior silos and grain handling equipment.  While these items were a little large to have on site we were still able to learn more about their range of products that can help solve some on farm storage problems.

AgQuip 1






I do, I do, I do, I do, I do!


EMW Wedding 2
Erin & her fiancé, Luke Barton, were married on July 27th in the beautiful grounds of Little House on Rose in Wee Waa on a delightfully warm Winter’s day.

Erin looked stunning, her girls Martha and Elsie cute as buttons and Luke and George very dapper in their suits.

Erin was attended by 4 bridesmaids in dusty pink to match the theme of the wedding.  She went to great lengths to get every detail perfect and guests were treated to a beautiful afternoon and night of celebrations.

Now that the honeymoon is booked for a couple of weeks in September we’re not quite sure what Erin is going to do with all her spare time!

EMW Wedding 4EMW Wedding 3

Congratulations Sam & Luke


Alex 1 Alex 2Sam, our Contract Administrator, and her husband Luke welcomed their own little prince on Sunday, July 21st.
Alex John Thurston weighed in at a very healthy 8lb 5oz and entered the world a week early.
Sam was looking forward to a restful week at home after finishing work but Alex had other ideas!

All is going well.  As you can see he’s already a proud supporter of Narrabri polocrosse so no doubt he’ll be on a horse before we know it!

AgVantage Market Report 29/08/2013


The markets cautiously took some profit last night. The corn market lost some of its bullish momentum on technical resistance, but with yield expectations continuing to be trimmed as this continued post pollination heat, is the biggest influences on final yield. The soybean market put on a couple of cents on some new crop demand, with China purchasing another 120Kmt of US beans overnight, but with a better weather forecast, and the chance of rain (1/4 – 1/2 inches) next week across some of the growing area, traders are being kept on their toes. The wheat markets were mixed, as Chicago lost a couple cents and Kansas wheat pushed higher. Some US wheat has been traded this week, but Egypt was a big buyer of Black Sea cargoes, the US wheat tendered was $15-20 overpriced.

Cotton market made a fresh new low overnight, but did finish up for the session. ECOM are forecasting an increase in physical demand, with the 81-83 cent still seen as the key buying numbers for most mills. China is also expected to release an additional 300kmt of import quota for September, but this will be clearer over the next week or two.

Aussie currency dropped under 0.89 overnight, as the flight to safety dragged some money away from our shores, as we watch the Syrian events unfold. Global safe havens for money, like gold, US dollars, and government bonds should continue to attract additional investment. The Dollar looks set to continue its downward trend for now, with the RBA setting no end to the rate cutting cycle.

Domestically, new crop prices are holding strong for new crop Multigrade APW in the system and stockfeed 70/10 ex-farm. Multigrade Durum has held around the $350 Newcastle for the last week for DR1. New crop canola continues to hold the best numbers seen in the last couple of months, around the $560 track Newcastle. Barley numbers are continuing to firm, with good premiums on offer for deferred pick-up. With sorghum planting almost just around the corner, new crop numbers are attractive at $280 Newcastle and Brisbane port zones. New crop faba’s have remained steady at around $390’s, whilst chickpeas have started a slow move up, with prices hitting $400 Narrabri and Goondiwindi packers.

AgVantage Commodities Market Report 27/8/2013


International grain markets were strong overnight as August weather and September forecasts get the bulls raging. Dec wheat finished up 20.75 cents and closed at 666.75US cents/bushel. It was mostly due to strength in corn but also from a technical perspective, wheat crossed and traded above the downtrend line it’s been trading since April. This prompted spec buying and short covering. Dec corn closed up 29.75 cents after last week’s crop tour shaved 300 million bushels of the production estimate after a hot, dry August and forecast. The weekly crop progress report wiped 2 percentage points from the good to excellent category this week taking it down to 59%. Soybeans was the big mover overnight with the November contract closing up 61.5 cents at 1389.5US cents/bushel. Four percentage points were wiped from the good to excellent category and this week sits at 58%. Again, hot and dry weather is taking a toll on the crop and the driving force behind recent futures moves.

Domestically, we are hearing of extensive frost damage across the region after last week’s event which is widespread from the Liverpool Plains region through to north of the border. This has affected wheat, barley and canola crops. Crops west of the Newell are struggling without rain and another week or two without rain will see heavy yield declines and more stock being put onto crops. Basis for new crop wheat remains strong and values today are above $300/mt Newcastle track and well above in the Brisbane zone. For growers in the north looking to price new crop we recommend looking at pricing on-farm and utilising on-farm storage as the 70/10 market is well above track Multigrade pricing.

New crop chickpea demand remains quiet and prices haven’t moved. Faba demand is still strongest into the packers for export as the domestic market can source imported soymeal cheaper for the Nov-Dec period than fabas locally. Prices are $385-400 delivered packer and we are happy to look at offers.

Cotton futures were up overnight although fundamentally not a lot of news to provide much direction to the markets. Futures in the low 0.80USD range is creating demand from China with merchants making sales in the past week. We expect this demand to continue while futures trade within this range and drop off should they hit the high 0.80’s. $500/bale for 2014 crop is gone and today prices are around the $481/bale mark. We believe given the sharp decline, another go at $500 will see a wave of selling activity.

AgVantage Commodities Market Report 22/08/2013


The cotton market continued its rapid decline overnight, with a further 4.62 USc drop following the limit move of 4 USc on the December contract the session before. While the trigger for the drop has been attributed to a slightly better outlook for US cotton production from a USDA report released Monday, the size and pace of the move is entirely speculator driven. The initial rally itself was driven by technical factors, with a breakout on the upside of a well-established trading range spurring hedge fund buying, with very little fundamental news present to justify prices above 90 USc/lb. Physical demand has been entirely absent during this rally also, with mills experience with the huge rally and subsequent collapse in futures in 2011 making them more reluctant to chase price movements up. With funds locking in profits with sell stops on the way down and exiting the market, it is expected prices will realign with its pre-rally trading range, with mill buying supporting prices around 80 – 82 USc/lb. The short lived spike in prices has at least given growers the chance to lock in large portions of their 2014 crop at $500+ levels, and clean up remaining stocks at prices which pushed up to $520 over the past few weeks.

Grain futures have continued with their recent volatility, with gains overnight coming close to making up losses experienced yesterday. US weather remains the focus and will remain so for the next few weeks as a tilt drier casts doubt over production estimates. A weaker Aussie dollar is helping support local new crop prices, pushing below 0.90c after spending recent weeks around 0.92c.

Demand for new crop remains strong, with prices Narrabri North at $300 Newcastle track, while Brisbane track is $306. New crop SFW prices ex farm are still strong around $260 ex farm in the North. It is also worth remembering that warehousing fees increase at the end of this month for stocks still in the Graincorp system. We currently have some short term demand for protein wheat in the system in the Western line to Walgett and Northern sites. We are also able to offer new crop barley prices with a floating spread to malting barley which can be locked in at the time of transfer. Please call the office if this is of interest. We also have demand for any parcels of sorghum still available with the capacity to handle borderline moisture, while new crop is also gaining some interest with strong ex farm numbers in the North.

AgVantage Commodities Market Report 20/08/2013


The markets put aside last weeks finish, and soybean and corn futures headed higher as the warm weather that sparked last weeks rally began to hit home, and the forecasted rain evaporated. The northern and western Corn Belt areas are starting to show some signs of crop stress due to lack of moisture, whilst soybean crop development is expected to be hampered during this period considered by most to be critical for determining yield. Pro Farmer began their Midwestern crop tours on Monday, and their daily reports will be keen awaited by traders looking for more solid on the ground reports of crop conditions. The wheat market followed its row crop cousins, and put on a reasonable gain for the session, but demand is still seen as limited for US origin wheat, as cheaper EU and Black Sea region wheat seem to be finding homes in most of the recent tenders.

Traders in the cotton market took some profit overnight, following the stronger advance of last week. The December contract has continued to trade higher on the back of the spec fund continued buying, as they continue to build their long market positions. The USDA improved crop conditions in most US states by a percentage point or two following rain across the southern growing regions. The US crop remains delayed, and US supply is expected to remain tight for the near term. The markets look to be on an upward trend technically, but fundamentally, demand is almost non-existent at the moment, forcing Aussie basis lower.

The Aussie dollar has continued to trade a reasonably tight range of 0.9050 – 0.9225 for the past couple of sessions. Data which may have some effect on our currency has been limited, but this afternoon will see the released of the RBA’s minutes from the August rate cut meeting. Most believe that the minutes will show an openness the cut rates again, but the determining factor of when, will be no clearer.

New crop prices have taken a jump up in the Brisbane Port Zone, with new crop APW hitting the $303 or better, port equivalent price. The premium that the Newcastle Port Zone had held in the new crop market has evaporated with Newcastle prices $294 port today. The domestic end users in QLD are looking for coverage, helping to push prices higher over the border. The new crop 70/10 market remains extremely firm in both Northern NSW and Southern QLD, with the harvest slot starting to fill up, demand for post harvest is starting to heat up. New crop canola has benefited from a rally in both Soybean and Canola futures internationally, with new crop hitting $540 Newcastle, the best numbers seen for a good couple of weeks. The pulse markets remain mostly quiet, but we have seen some slight increases in the chickpea bid delivered Darling  Downs packers. Local packers are still cautious with their chickpea bids, on the back of limited demand, with chickpeas still bid around the $350 levels, whilst faba’s are a few dollars softer to around $385. For our growers west of Narrabri, we have interest in APH2 and H2 that you may be holding in Graincorp and Grainflow sites, call the office if you would like to price your warehoused grain, ahead of increased warehousing fees starting in September.

The AgVantage team looks forward to catching you with any growers heading to Ag-Quip. Call in and meet the team at Site F24, and have a chat about the markets, and our exciting new product offerings to help you manage your stored grain on farm.

AgVantage Commodities Market Report 13/8/2013


The USDA released a report overnight which was considered to have a bullish sentiment. With the August report historically one to set the cat amongst the pigeons, they did not fail to deliver, with a number of both traders and fund managers caught short by this report. The wheat market was not overly excited by reports of decreasing US ending stocks, and increasing world production which levelled the score. Wheat’s row crop cousins took the report and ran with it. Soybeans jumped up on the back of decreasing domestic ending stocks and US production, after 202k hectares were cut from the planted area estimates, and yield was cut to 2.86t/ha for the remaining 31.2m hectares. World oilseed ending stocks booked a slight increase overall of 200kmt , mainly from increased production of canola, palm kernel and sunflowers, picking up the decrease in soybeans and cottonseed. Corn also saw reductions in total production in the US to 349.6mmt, as yield was dropped to 9.69t/ha. Total coarse grain ending stocks dropped almost 600kmt, with decreases in the US, being picked up by improved conditions in the FSU and EU and subcontinent regions.

The cotton market ran up on the coat tails of its row crop counterparts, but the report was still considered bullish for cotton putting on good gains after the USDA forecast the smallest crop in 5 years at 13.05m bales for the States. With still a number of months to go, abandonment is already measured at the 5 year average, and yield is being wound back for the US crop. World ending stocks are still a healthy 93.8m bales (58.3m bales held in China), even as world production dropped 1.7m bales, increases in Indian and Pakistani production, covering the marked decrease in Chinese, US and Uzbekistan production.

The Aussie Dollar finished last week on the best run against the US in 18 months following the better than expected economic data from the Chinese, and a statement from the RBA suggesting that it would be happy to watch our economy for now, but keeping the door ajar for another rate cut in the future. With little economic data out for the start of this week, the dollar has floundered around the 0.91 – 0.915 level, with no clear direction.

Domestic prices have jumped a couple of dollars following last nights’ report. Canola was a big winner putting on $8 -10, reaching the low $520’s Newcastle track. New crop wheat is again trading the mid 290’s track in both NSW and QLD with some site specific numbers reaching into the low $300 equivalents. We have buyers still keen to secure SFW (70/10) quality wheat for both the harvest (Nov/Dec)  and post harvest slot (Jan/Feb/Mar +), at prices better than the track equivalent, for growers looking to utilise on farm storage, instead of delivering to the bulk handling system at harvest. Barley has started to attract some interest, particularly in the north with numbers approaching $240 ex-farm on the border, but offers from any location will be considered. The pulse market has dropped a couple of dollars, with Faba’s back around the $385 for #1 quality in both Narrabri and Goondiwindi. The chickpea market remains very quiet, with most buyers reluctant to even put a bid in the market, and growers are even more reluctant sellers. We have some limited demand for in spec sorghum into Narrabri, and for growers who are required to dry grain, we have buyers looking for September/October pick-up ex-farm.

AgVantage Commodities Market Report 8/8/2013


Overnight, the major commodity markets continued its bearish slant other than cotton. December wheat fell 7c to 656 ¼ Usc/b which pushed to a new low on the back of US equity markets trading down and the US dollar moving lower for the 3rd straight day, mostly against a strong Yen which was up over 1%. Overnight markets were rather negative after it was reported that US wheat was once again shoved aside by Iraq for cheaper cargos out of Australia and Canada. Also, Russian farmers have harvested 31 million tonnes of wheat as of August 6th, up from 24.7 in the same period in 2012. December corn finished down slightly 1c to 458 ¼ Usc/b as  traders see production and ending stocks for 2013/14 edging higher on next Monday’s USDA report, with favorable weather conditions also continuing the bearish slant on the corn market. November Soybeans closed down 1 ½ c at 1165 ¾ Usc/b. Demand from China continues to look strong with another 2013/14 sale reported this morning for 220,000 tonnes. For the week, China has bought 340,000 tonnes of new crop soybeans from the US. Many still believe that the USDA import demand estimate of 69 million tonnes is overstated given that it’s 10 million higher than in 2012/13.

The big mover overnight was cotton with the December contract up 264 points to 88.33USc/lb and the March contract up 170 points to 85.25 Usc/lb. This movement had nothing but technical buys behind it, with no fundamental supply and demand news attributing to this large overnight jump. A simple reminder to the market that the USDA’s current forecast for farm price range for the 2013 US crop is somewhere between 70 and 90 USc per lb, that puts last night’s rally to 88.33 at the high end of the range.

Domestically we have seen some new crop wheat selling activity continue but slowing, with most new crop contracts north of Moree being XF Oct/Nov/Dec pickup at around the $245-$255 which represents great value when compared to system contracts. On the demand side, buyers are now moving away from the harvest delivery periods and securing forward contracts for January to June 2014 deliveries. Most merchants continue to be bearish, and will look to pick up supply out of the system at harvest. Faba beans can still achieve the $400 delivered Goondiwindi or Narrabri at harvest time. With the overnight spike in the market we have seen Cotton prices for new crop hit $500 for the first time, which will see a lot of bales come to the market. Please call the office to discuss any parcels you are considering to market.