Agribusiness buzz in brief

Agribusiness buzz in brief


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Cotton Seed Distributors newly completed administration and processing site outside Wee Waa.

Cotton Seed Distributors newly completed administration and processing site outside Wee Waa.

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A quick look at who's making news in agribusiness this week

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CSD site expansion

As the northern cotton harvest season starts to roll Cotton Seed Distributors is well underway with construction of its new seed delinting and treatment plant at Wee Waa.

The project is the second stage of a multimillion dollar redevelopment of CSD’s “Shenstone” cotton seed processing plant and laboratory.

“Four major contractors are assembling the production lines used for delinting and treating cotton planting seed, but commissioning the new technology in the delinting plant will not be rushed,” said managing director Peter Graham.

“We’ve kept existing facilities well maintained and are currently using the delinting plant for this season, while the new plant is expected to be operational for treating.” 

The first stage of the site redevelopment, including a new administration complex and research facility, roads and essential services was completed over summer, with staff moving into their new premises in late 2017.

CSD chairman, James Kahl, said the new facility would enable the company to supply cotton planting seed for up to 1 million hectares of irrigated and dryland cotton in any one season.

“This won’t happen next year; however it is within our planning for the next 30 years,” he said.

“CSD is the only supplier of cotton planting seed in Australia, so the industry is totally reliant on us to fulfil their requirements as and when needed.”

Alltech founder dies

US-based livestock nutrition company, Alltech, is mourning the sudden death of its Irish-born biochemist founder and president, Dr Pearse Lyons.

He died last week, aged 73, from a lung condition which developed during his recovery from heart surgery.

Alltech founder, Dr Pearse Lyons.

Alltech founder, Dr Pearse Lyons.

“Dr. Lyons was a visionary entrepreneur who transformed the agriculture industry beginning with his innovative application of yeast technology in animal nutrition,” said chief executive officer, Alric Blake.

“From farm to field, from market to family dinner table, our world is immeasurably better because he was a man who never saw problems, only a challenge that had not yet been solved.

“He inspired everyone he met with his energy, enthusiasm and passionate belief in possibilities.” The company he founded in 1980 in Lexington, Kentucky, initially supplied biotechnology-derived ingredients to the livestock and poultry feed industry, opening its first international office back in Ireland the following year and branching into China in 1994.

It now has 5000-plus and offices worldwide, including Australia where it has operated since 1997.

Webster buys into almonds

Walnut and broadacre crop and livestock producer, Webster Limited has further diversified its property portfolio with a move into almond production.

Webster has acquired the 935-hectare property “Sandy Valley” in NSW's Murrumbidgee Valley near tabbita for $16.8 million.

The property, close to Webster’s existing walnut orchards in the district, has 260ha of almonds with trees set to produce their first harvest next year.

“The market fundamentals for almonds in Australia and globally are sound and we look forward to expanding the operations at Sandy Valley to harness this opportunity,” said Webster chief executive officer, Maurice Felizzi.   

Continental eyes Bunge 

Speculation about the future of global agribusiness and food company, Bunge, continues, with US-based Continental Grain reportedly pushing to buy.

New York-based Continental, which already owns about one per cent of Bunge is believed to be considering buying much more following a similar takeover approach by another US giant, Archer Daniels Midland Company in January.

The ADM move appears to have stalled for the time being. 

Platinum producers in NZ

Disruptive health care, blockchain technology, molecular diagnostics and millennial consumer engagement are to be discussed at the annual Platinum Primary Producers (PPP) Conference, in New Zealand next week.

More than 150 of Australasia’s leading agribusiness professionals at the annual PPP conference will discuss ways to work together to tackle some of the toughest industry challenges.

PPP Group brings together some of the most influential, innovative and positive agricultural leaders in Australasia.

Keynote speakers include medical inventor of digital bio-communication, Dr Wei Siang Yu; digital disruption specialist, Andrew Plimmer; Rabobank emerging leader, Jan Vydra of Australian Fresh Leaf Herbs, and ex-All Black and mental health advocate Sir John Kirwan.

“The agricultural landscape is changing at a rate of knots with incredible innovations happening in the world around us, and in our industry,” said PPP founder and chairman, Shane McManaway.

“Not long ago, people were encouraged to go into farming if they didn’t have other options, now, it’s a progressive, leading-edge industry.”

The conference includes the announcement of the 2018 winner of the Zanda McDonald Award, a badge of honour  recognising future Australasian agribusiness industry leaders.

Finalists Lisa Kendall, 25, Thomas Macdonald, 24, and Janet Reddan, 33, are in contention for a prize package worth $50,000.

Rural Bank graduate program 

Rural Bank has opened applications for its 2019 Ag Achievers graduate program to university graduates aspiring to become the next generation of rural leaders.

The program is being expandedto place a total of five graduates across Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, and Victoria.

Successful applicants will enjoy rotations through each key business area of Rural Bank, with comprehensive training, hands-on experience and one-on-one coaching and mentoring with experienced agribusiness specialists, members of the Executive Committee and opportunities to work on key strategic projects.

Applications are open until April 1 via the careers section of Rural Bank’s website.

The story Agribusiness buzz in brief first appeared on Farm Online.

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