Positive report bodes well for arable industry

A new report has farming leaders feeling positive about the arable industry.

The just-released Arable Industry Marketing Initiative (AIMI) Survey report shows that, compared to October 2017, unsold stocks of the six cereal crops are down 23 per cent. 

Unsold stocks of cereal grain reduced by 65 percent between the July and October surveys.

Brian Leadley of Federated Farmers says the results are more evidence of confidence throughout the arable industry.

"The arable industry is considerably more positive than in years gone by, with stronger prices, good demand for our products and some favourable planting and climatic conditions all pointing towards a satisfying harvest," he said.

In terms of spring sowings, 84 per cent of the crop area intended for planting had been planted by October 10.

"The variable spring weather did delay planting of some spring crops, mainly in Southland, South Canterbury and parts of the North Island. This replicates the situation in autumn with some of those crops drowned and needing to be replanted," he said.

However, the total area sown in cereals is estimated to be up 2 percent (or 1,800ha) on last season. 

"An increase in milling wheat planted is particularly encouraging," said Mr Leadley, who is the Federated Farmers Arable Industry Vice-Chairperson for grains. 

"This latest AIMI survey shows the resurgence in sowings described in the October 2017 report has been maintained," he said.

As a comparison, over the last two years the total area sown plus intended to be sown in wheat, barley or oats, as at 10 October 2018, was estimated to be 19 percent up on the area harvested in 2017 - mainly due to increases in sowings of feed barley and feed wheat.

Brian Leadley says the arable industry is moving forward.
Brian Leadley says the arable industry is moving forward. Photo credit: Supplied

Other factors are also contributing to the sector's positivity. 

"There was the well-publicised switch by Countdown's 180 NZ supermarkets to pre-mixes for its in-house loaves, rolls, buns and scones made only from locally-grown product, when before some imported product had been in the mix," said Mr Leadley.

"It highlights the quality of the grain we're producing, getting the message out there that our product is grown under a quality assurance programme, with traceability standards that are audited - and we're price competitive," he said.

He noted the industry is pushing forward on a number of fronts, including opportunities within the dairy industry for feed grain and cereal silage.