Southern NSW well positioned to ride out drought

ACCC deputy chairman Mick Keogh joins HV McKay’s grandson, Dugald McKay, Bruce Taylor and HMFD patron Tim Fischer at the opening of the 2018 field days.

Henty Machinery Field Days visitors heard how southern NSW is well positioned despite the drought, with strong commodity livestock and crop prices.

The field days were officially opened on Tuesday, September 18 by Australian Competition and Consumer Commission deputy chairman Mick Keogh.

Mr Keogh said the ACCC had a critical role in improving competition in the agricultural sector, and in those sectors of the economy providing important inputs to agriculture.

“Competition is key to the future success of agriculture, both inside the farm gate, but also in the sectors that service agriculture,’’ he said.

“Competition delivers innovation, which in turn enables businesses in the sector to be more productive and increase the value of outputs, benefitting the people and businesses involved in agriculture.

“If we get competition right in the agricultural sector, the resulting innovation will deliver increased returns to businesses, and just as importantly to regional communities.’’

ANZ Agribusiness and Business Banking regional executive Conor Noonan said Henty featured quality examples of innovation and evolution of technology in the agribusiness sector.

“Our success as a country is, in many ways, is based on a highly efficient, free and unsubsidised agricultural economy,’’ Mr Noonan said.

He outlined the $130 million of additional funding ANZ had pledged to help farmers sustain their farm and meet commitments for this season and next.

“Despite the drought, this region is well positioned overall, with the outlook reasonable with commodity stock and crop prices demonstrating some strength,’’ Mr Noonan said.

“No clearer example is the recent performance of wool and its current position at more than 2000 cents per kilogram.

“We are now strongly placed to capture increased returns driven by undersupply in the rising middle class of Asia.

“This dynamic is playing out in other commodity classes and we feel Australia is well placed, particularly once this drought breaks.’’

Henty Machinery Field Days chairman Ross Edwards also highlighted the strength in the commodity markets in his opening address.

“The Australian agricultural community is experiencing an economic period of record lamb and wool prices, and a sound beef export market,’’ Mr Edwards said.

He pointed to spring bull sales averaging $6000-$15,000, buoyant land sales, and Australia’s largest on-property ram sale grossing $1.2 million.

“Whilst the drought is testing rural and regional communities, I believe instability in governments is not only having major effects on agriculture, but Australia as a whole.

“We need a strong statesman like leadership with sound policies to take agriculture and our great country into the future.’’

The official opening also featured the unveiling of a maquette of the Headlie Taylor sculpture by the Headlie Taylor Header Museum committee members.