Australian agribusiness buzz

Ag inventory stocks rise

Agribusinesses are carrying the highest working capital load of any industry sector in Australia, and their inventory levels are rising, says a McGrathNicol report on 140 companies listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.

While the study found an overall reduction in the average working capital cycle during 2019, agriculture and food and beverage producers, healthcare and retail participants all had increased average inventory holdings.

The farm sector companies in the sample were involved in livestock, aquaculture, viticulture, grain cropping and processing and crop protection inputs.

Average working capital increased by 2.5 days to almost 84 days, while 60 per cent of those sampled reported an increase in inventory – half having increases of two weeks of more.

Two thirds of agribusinesses with higher inventory rates lengthened their supplier payment cycles to help manage the increased cash held in inventory.

McGrathNicol Advisory partner, Jason Ireland, said the gap between the best and worst metrics in seven of the nine sectors studied exceeded 100 days.


Namoi-Cargill split

Namoi Cotton has sold its 15 per cent stake in oilseeds crushing venture Cargill Oilseeds Australia and resolved a year-long commercial dispute with its partner, Cargill Australia. Cargill’s North West NSW cottonseed crushing plant at Narrabri was closed a year ago because of dwindling oilseed supplies.

The terms of the dispute settlement remain confidential, however Namoi chief executive officer, Michael Renehan, said there would be no material impact on Namoi’s pre-tax earnings or cash flow. Settlement involved Namoi dismissing its Federal Court of Australia pre-discovery proceedings which had attempted to find out more about Cargill’s accounting actions in relation to cottonseed which impacted Namoi’s half-yearly results a year ago.

Meanwhile Namoi’s company secretary, Bailey Garcha, has stepped down after 16 years, to be replaced by Andrew Metcalfe, who joins the cotton ginning and marketing business with 25 years of experience with Australian Security Exchange listed companies in a variety of industries.


GrainGrowers appoint new non-grower

Former NSW Nationals Senator and deputy leader of the federal party, Fiona Nash, is to join the board of peak farmer body GrainGrowers as a non-grower director.

Ms Nash, who spent 12 years in federal parliament with ministerial responsibility for rural health, local government, regional development and regional communications, has been involved in farming enterprises in the NSW Central West where her two sons continue to operate.

Also joining the board after last month’s GrainGrowers annual general meeting is Nigel Corish, who was elected as a northern region grower director.

Mr Corish is a fourth-generation farmer from Goondiwindi, on the NSW-Queensland border, where he runs a family cropping enterprise. Victorian directors, Brett Hosking, Quambatook, and Julia Hausler, Warracknabeal were re-elected.

GrainGrowers chief executive officer, David McKeon, said a rigorous recruitment process for Ms Nash’s non-grower director’s job had attracted a high calibre of interest.


Greens applaud NAB

National Australia Bank‘s new farm lending principles based on animal welfare standards have been welcomed by the Greens as an important step forward in corporations acknowledging responsibility to protect animals.

Greens senator, Mehreen Faruqi, said banks needed to go even further to protect animals and urged other lending institutions to immediately get on board.

“NAB’s release of these principles is an important step towards banks beginning to acknowledge the huge impact their lending practices have on animals.

She claimed any business involved in “morally suspect industries like greyhound and horse racing, factory farming and live exports” was complicit in animal abuse, arguing all banks should recognise “the community expectation that all animals will be protected and treated as sentient beings”.


Dairy Australia AGM

Dairy Australia‘s annual general meeting will be held on November 29 at Lardner Park near Warragul in Gippsland.

It coincides with a behind-the-scenes tour of the DairyFeedbase project at nearby Ellinbank Dairy Research Centre, which promises to revolutionise feedbase management in Australia.

The day’s program includes displays highlighting GippsDairy’s work and Dairy Australia’s marketing and promotion activities in the past year and an opportunity for farmers to talk with DA directors and management at a complimentary barbecue lunch following the AGM.


Ausveg board job

Tasmanian vegetable and potato grower, Michael Radcliff, has been appointed to the board of peak vegetable industry body, Ausveg, as a grower director.

He replaces potato and onion grower, David Addison, who steps down after nearly 10 years, including three as Ausveg deputy chairman.

Mr Radcliff and his wife Heidi, farm at Wesley Vale, growing potatoes, broccoli, peas, beans, carrots and onions, and he is a member of a Hort Innovation strategic investment advisory committee for the vegetable industry.


New APL director

Australian Pork Limited has welcomed new South Australian producer director, Mark McLean, to its board replacing Andrew Johnson, who retired after nine years.

Mr McLean heads a family company operating a 2000 sow pig farm, has extensive agribusiness experience, and is a past chairman of PorkSA.

Outgoing director, Mr Johnson, chaired the board’s quality assurance and animal welfare committee and the Pan Pacific Pork Expo.

Also departing is Kathy Grigg, a specialist director for eleven years, who chaired the board’s audit and risk committee for much of that time.

This was original published by The Land

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