Growers boost investment

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Wheatbelt grain grower Erin Hayes.
Camera IconWheatbelt grain grower Erin Hayes. Credit: Archer Imagery

Australian grain growers are continuing to invest in their businesses in the face of low wheat prices and see-sawing yields, research shows.

Commonwealth Bank’s latest Agri Insights report revealed grain growers were the most likely of all Australian farmers to be on the hunt for more land.

Of the 14000 farmers surveyed for the report, which included 243 grain growers, 19 per cent said they intended to increase their landholding during the year ahead, compared to just 9 per cent of farmers across all farm types.

The report also revealed grain growers were the most likely farmers to be planning an investment in infrastructure, plant and equipment, technology and employment during the next 12 months.

Commonwealth Bank specialised agribusiness solutions general manager Adrian Parker said a relatively tough period had not damped the optimism of future-focused croppers.

“These results show that Australian growers have their eye on the future,” he said. “Even though the last harvest was considerably down on recent records, Australian growers are still intent on investing in their operations because they recognise that agribusiness is a long-term prospect.

“They’re evolving their operations to be ready for upcoming opportunities.

“Already we’re seeing this demonstrated with a much better outlook for the summer season.”

In the Wheatbelt, the Hayes family is on a mission to get uniform results across their mixed sheep and wheat property.

The Hayes’ business, run by brothers David and Paul Hayes, David’s wife, Robyn, and their son Tim, and Tim’s wife, Erin, started as a wool operation in 1967.

Now, V & HA Hayes is 70 per cent crops and 30 per cent sheep.

Grain growers’ investment intentions showed a commitment to productivity, efficiency and sustainability, Mr Parker said.

“For some growers, this is about increasing their landholding to enable increased production, although scaling up does not always mean more distance between the front and back fence,” he said.

“We’re also seeing strong interest in upgrading equipment, investing in technology and taking on new staff to help growers achieve more from their operations. Against a backdrop of generally lower prices, Australian grain growers are looking ahead and investing strategically.”

Research for the Agri Insights report was conducted by Kynetec, with the farmers’ survey conducted in September.

It focused on farmers’ intentions for their farm enterprises during the next 12 months.

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