Profitable Black Sea grain makes its mark on Victorian delegation

Neil Lyon August 13, 2018

A VICTORIAN grower delegation back from a crop tour of the Black Sea region is coming to terms with the profitability and potential of a region now going head to head with Australia.

The delegation of growers and staff of Flexigrain, NW Ag Services and AGRIvision Consultants from northwest Victoria at the Ukraine port of Odessa.

“The purpose of the tour was to make Australian growers aware of the low cost of production within the Black Sea region and provide a first-hand experience of the improving quality from this region,” Flexigrain general manager, Jarrod Tonkin, said.

“We are now competing against these stocks into our once tightly held markets,” Mr Tonkin said.

Flexigrain, NW Ag Services and AGRIvision Consultants clients and staff made up the delegation, which visited Ukraine and Russia, including Andropovsk Farms, which is around 130 kilometres south of Stavropol, and 100km west of the Black Sea.

Even with its 2018 wheat yields forecast to average 4.2 tonnes/hectare, or 20 per cent below last year’s, profitability of its crops looks attractive.

“Interestingly, Andropovsk farms net return after costs was tracking at US$74 per tonne, or around AU$100 profit.”

The Novotroitskya region is around 80km north of Stavropol, and its average wheat yield of 5.6t/ha was 17pc below last year’s.

Unlike Ukraine, land can be purchased in Russia, and is valued on rainfall.

Land at Novotroitskya has an annual average rainfall of 540 millimetres, an average wheat yield of 6.7t/ha and is valued at $1000/ha.

“The moisture conversion to yield is high, as they are receiving the 540mm in-crop over a six-month period.”

The delegation last month was told Ukraine’s wheat harvest was 70 per cent complete, as headers moved into fields in the higher-yielding northern regions.

“We believe Ukraine will produce around 25 million tonnes of wheat, subject to weather on the remaining 30pc of area which may produce 40pc of the crop.”


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