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CBH News 2010 


December

17 DecemberFederal Court decision on the CBH Group’s tax-exempt status

The CBH Group has welcomed the judgement made today by a Full Court of the Federal Court dismissing the Commissioner of Taxation's appeal against CBH retaining income tax-exempt status for the storage and handling side of its business.

CBH Group Chairman Neil Wandel said the exemption has meant that some millions of dollars are retained annually within CBH which have been used for reinvestment in the maintenance and upgrade of Western Australia's grain storage and handling network and for the benefit of the grain industry.

"This is why we have fought so strongly to keep our tax-exempt status," Mr Wandel said.

"We strongly believe the tax exemption is valid under sections 50-1 and 50-40 of the Income Tax Assessment Act because of the role CBH plays in promoting the development of the grain industry and agricultural resources."

Mr Wandel said the Full Bench decision provided important clarity as the Board moved into the final stages of its current investigation into the most appropriate future structure for CBH.

The CBH Group's taxation status is one of the factors being considered by the Board to assess and compare the three short-listed co-operative models which are now in the final stages of evaluation. The other main factors include grower preferences on how value should be provided to them, and strategic, legal and financial considerations.

The three short-listed models are a Non-Distributing Co-operative, which would retain the tax-exempt status, a Distributing Co-operative and a Dual Co-operative.

Mr Wandel said the Board was still working towards sharing a decision on the preferred model with CBH's grower members in early 2011 before going to members for a formal vote on the future structure in the second half of 2011.

Note - The decision handed down by the Federal Court today applies to the CBH Group's storage and handling business only. It does not affect the tax paying status of CBH Grain Pty Ltd, or the CBH Group's other subsidiaries.

Background 

1971

Co-operative Bulk Handling Limited was granted income tax-exempt status recognising its role in promoting the development of Australian agricultural resources. Note - the tax-exempt status was for its storage and handling side of the business.

November 2008

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) issued a formal ruling that CBH's storage and handling business was no longer exempt from income tax. The ATO ruled that it no longer believed the predominant purpose of CBH's grain storage and handling business was to promote the development of Australia's agricultural resources. The ruling was to be effective from 1 November, 2008.

December 2008

The CBH Group lodged an appeal with the Federal Court against the ATO's ruling.

May 2010

Justice Gilmour of the Federal Court allowed CBH's appeal and ruled that CBH's storage and handling business was exempt from taxation under sections 50-1 and 50-40 of the Income Tax Assessment Act.

June 2010

The Commissioner of Taxation appealed Justice Gilmour's decision to a Full Court of the Federal Court.

December 2010

The Full Court of the Federal Court dismisses the Commissioner of Taxation's appeal.

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13 DecemberNew era for grain rail freight in Western Australia

The CBH Group today announced plans to make an investment of up to $175 million in rolling stock as part of a landmark decision to award its long-term grain rail contract to experienced United States transportation group Watco Companies.

CBH Group Chief Executive Officer Dr Andrew Crane said today's announcement marked a new era for grain rail freight in Western Australia which would deliver significantly greater value, efficiency and safety to grain growers and the grain industry.

"Our decision to go to tender for the first time for our rail transport requirement has resulted in the introduction of competition for the first time in the Western Australian grain rail freight market and the first major investment in new rolling stock for decades," Dr Crane said.

"We still need continued support and engagement with below-rail provider WestNet and the State Government to achieve an optimal outcome.

"However, subject to a satisfactory new track access agreement, and with the State and Federal Governments' $350 million funding package, our planned investment means more than $500 million has now been committed this year to the grain transport network after decades of neglect."

Dr Crane said Watco had been chosen as CBH's long-term rail partner following a year-long tender process which had drawn competitive interest from rail companies locally and around the world.

The new 10 year agreement would commence in May 2012 and would see Watco provide a comprehensive rail logistics planning service including train planning and scheduling, tracking, maintenance, inventory control and crew management.

Watco would operate and maintain the new rolling stock to be acquired by CBH, which would include a number of locomotives and a fleet of wagons to be delivered over the next 18 months.

"We welcome Watco to Western Australia and have great confidence that their experience and innovative and performance-driven culture will enable us to implement the most efficient grain logistics supply chain for WA growers and their customers and help us to keep the maximum amount of grain on rail," Dr Crane said.

"We also anticipate the new arrangements will deliver our growers material improvements in freight efficiencies."

Watco Executive Vice President, Ed McKechnie, said Watco welcomed the opportunity to partner with the CBH Group and the grain growers of Western Australia as its point of entry to Australia.

"We want to grow the rail business in Western Australia and we will do that by providing exceptional customer service," Mr McKechnie said.

"We are committed to operating a safe and efficient railroad that creates value for growers.  This is done by moving more tonnes to port and doing it through creativity and innovation.

"We believe our experience in grain transportation and the successful execution of over 40 start-ups on railroads, rail car shops, switching operations and transload locations will be of significant value when commencing operations in Western Australia."

Dr Crane said the existing interim agreement with the incumbent provider Australian Railroad Group was due to run until April 2012 and CBH looked forward to working with ARG to ensure a smooth transition to the new arrangements for the benefit of both companies and the grain industry.

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02 DecemberNominations for 2011 Director Elections opened today

Nominations for the 2011 CBH Group Director Elections opened today with three Director positions open for nomination - one in each of the Districts 1,2 and 4. 

The coming elections will again be conducted by the Western Australian Electoral Commission (WAEC) and eligible candidates will have until 12 noon on Monday, 10 January 2011 to lodge their nomination.

The Directors whose three-year terms will expire at the CBH Group's Annual General Meeting in March 2011 are Vern Dempster, Clancy Michael and Wally Newman.

Following the close of nominations, subject to receiving more than one nomination for a district, grower members in that district will be able to vote for candidates and ballots will be counted immediately after the close of poll at 10am on Thursday, 24 February 2011.

CBH shareholders are reminded there were some important changes to the Director Election process, effective as of the 2010 Director Elections. This follows amendments to the Articles of Association which were approved by shareholders in October, 2009. Click here for more information on these changes.

To receive an information pack and nomination form, or for more information on the CBH Group's 2011 District Director Elections, please contact WAEC Returning Officer, Wayne Nicholson on 9214 0448 or wayne.nicholson@waec.wa.gov.au.

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01 DecemberExpansion of US$55m Vietnam port completed

A new US$55 million grain terminal and port facility part owned by Western Australian grain growers has been officially opened today in Vietnam.

CBH Group Chairman Neil Wandel said CBH and Western Australian growers were now stakeholders in the most modern and integrated grain port facility in South East Asia, with both import and export capability.

The new port terminal is on the Thi Vai River at Ba Ria-Vung Tau, 100 kilometres south east of Ho Chi Minh City and 35 kilometres from the open sea.

It is operated by Interflour Vietnam Ltd, part of Interflour Holdings, one of South East Asia's largest flour milling groups, owned in partnership by CBH and the Salim Group of Indonesia.

Interflour Vietnam also announced it would undertake a major expansion of its flour mill in Ba Ria-Vung Tau, doubling its capacity to 1000 tonnes per day to meet rapidly increasing demand as consumers switch from rice to flour-based products in Vietnam.

"The opening of the Interflour Vietnam grain port terminal, and the start to the expansion of the flour mill here, are important financial and symbolic milestones in the history of Interflour and in its close relationship with Western Australian growers," Mr Wandel said.

"We are happy to be a part of these developments and we congratulate all those who have contributed to making it happen."

Mr Wandel said Interflour's use of wheat from Western Australia had increased significantly since CBH first invested in its six flour mills in Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam in 2004.

"Our changing environment meant that we, as growers, needed to look at getting a direct stake in the grain value chain beyond the farmgate and getting closer to our customers," Mr Wandel said.

"We wanted to do more to "drought-proof" our business by diversifying our income, to secure and increase our access to rapidly growing markets, to ensure more of the value generated beyond the farmgate came back to growers and to create more value for growers by helping Interflour to improve and expand its operations.

"To date, most of Interflour's profits have been reinvested into growing the business, including the expansion in Vietnam. However CBH is now getting dividend payments from Interflour and the outlook is promising. This is particularly timely, helping to balance the inevitable negative impact on CBH's financial performance of the drought we are now enduring in Western Australia. "

Interflour Chief Executive Officer, Greg Harvey, said the new port terminal was a state-of-the-art facility with significant competitive advantages over other ports in Vietnam, and South East Asia as a whole, including much faster unloading rates and the ability to accept bigger ships.

"The investment in the terminal and the expansion of the flour mill reflect the strong growth Interflour has been able to achieve in Vietnam and the positive outlook for flour demand," Mr Harvey said.

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November

16 NovemberCBH welcomes grain transport funding

The CBH Group has welcomed the commitment today by the State and Federal Governments to invest a total of $350 million in the future of the grain transport network in Western Australia.

CBH Group Chairman, Neil Wandel, said the additional funding package announced today by the State Government delivers the platform to ensure the majority of Western Australia's grain harvest continues to be transported to port by rail.

"We congratulate the State and Federal Government on making such a significant investment in the future of the grain rail network and in road upgrades where rail may no longer be the lowest cost pathway to port," Mr Wandel said.

"Efficient inland transport infrastructure is absolutely vital to Western Australia in an increasingly competitive global grain market.  There have been many years of discussion about the best way forward for our grain transport network and it is very welcome that we now have the funding required to implement the recommendations of the Strategic Grain Network Review.

"On behalf of growers, CBH now looks forward to joining with Government and WestNet Rail to set the priorities for future major rail maintenance and upgrades.

"As the biggest customer of the grain rail network and with our own significant and growing investment in rail infrastructure, we believe we can provide crucial input into getting the best return for the Western Australian community on this funding."

Mr Wandel said the CBH Group remained committed to keeping grain on rail where it was the least cost path to port.

"We are geared to rail because fully-loaded and efficient rail services are more economic than road, as well as being the preferred option for the community and the environment," he said.

"We have invested heavily in rapid rail loading facilities and in providing highly efficient port discharge facilities to support efficient use of the rail network.

 "And this year, for the first time, we have undertaken a Request For Proposal process for the provision of the above-rail task of moving grain to port. This is one of the critical elements in developing a long term, sustainable solution for rail freight in Western Australia and will help improve service levels and keep freight charges competitive."

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October

29 OctoberCBH wins NAB Agribusiness Award

The CBH Group has been awarded the Grant Thornton Risk Management Award in the 2010 NAB Agribusiness Awards for Excellence. The Awards were announced at a gala dinner in Melbourne last night.

CBH Group CEO, Dr Andrew Crane said that winning the Award was testament to the CBH Group's ability to develop, document and implement successful risk management processes across the business.

"It is an honour for CBH to receive the Grant Thornton Risk Management Award," Dr Crane said.

"As a grower-owned business, we are acutely aware of the need to prudently manage risk and protect the long-term interests of our grower shareholders and grower customers. 

"The CBH Group successfully manages risk on behalf of growers every day - in the grain marketing products we provide and in our commitment to successfully identifying, managing and monitoring risk at all levels of the business.

"Our approach to managing risk includes linking the areas of risk, compliance and governance to ensure we have adequate processes in place to identify risks. Furthermore, we work to ensure that these processes and systems remain relevant and adequate when set against the future needs of the business.

"With a significant number of new entrants in the Australian grain marketing arena, prudent management of risk and financial security are key strengths that growers look for in their grain marketer and this award is recognition of the world class risk management practices that CBH has in place."

Dr Crane said in a large scale agribusiness such as CBH, communication plays a vital role in successful risk management.  

"CBH follows a thorough, transparent and effective communication plan when it comes to informing stakeholders about risks and risk management," he said.

"Communication of risk is driven by the Board, the Executive Committee and the Senior Management team, to reach all employees throughout the business."

CBH Chairman Neil Wandel said that winning the Grant Thornton Risk Management Award was a significant achievement for both the CBH Group and its grower members.

"I compliment the Board and the Executive Committee on their commitment to risk management and their successful ability to identify, monitor and manage risks throughout the business," Mr Wandel said.

"As Chairman and as a grower member of the CBH Group, I am proud to know that our business has been recognised at a national level for its leadership, innovation and excellence in risk management."

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25 OctoberCBH links WA growers to new Saudi Market

The CBH Group, together with the Department of Agriculture and Food WA, has opened a new market for Western Australian growers after shipping the first bulk cargo of WA wheat to Saudi Arabia in more than twenty years.

The 55,000 tonne cargo, worth USD $12 million, arrived in Saudi Arabia last month and has been well received by importers with feedback indicating that the quality of the shipment met the required specifications for milling.

CBH Wheat Marketing Manager, Tom Puddy said this is a significant opportunity for Western Australian growers to secure long term supply agreements into a new market.

"CBH has been working directly with the Grains Silos and Flour Mills Organisation (GSFMO), Saudi Arabia's sole grain importer, since the importer changed its tender specifications in April this year," Mr Puddy said.

"In December last year CBH shipped a 100 tonne trial cargo in containers to Saudi with the aim to test suitability for milling. Since then, CBH and DAFWA have been working with GSFMO, providing technical and research support in the areas of flour milling and bakery analysis."

Mr Puddy said this has created a valuable opportunity for WA growers, enabling them access to a market that WA hasn't serviced for more than twenty years.

CBH and DAFWA hosted visitors from the GSFMO in March this year. This provided an opportunity for the GSFMO to experience firsthand the world class grain storage and handling facilities that manage the Western Australian grain supply chain.

"The aim is to continue to work with the GSFMO in the long term and offer the Saudi market a consistent supply of high quality Western Australian wheat," he said.

"As a grower-owned business, CBH is always looking for opportunities to create and return value to growers. Our involvement in grain marketing goes beyond buying and trading grain. Year-round we work with the industry to create and sustain long term supply agreements for WA grain growers and the collaborative work we're undertaking in the Saudi market is an example of this."

Traditionally, Western Australian wheat was unable to meet the specifications required for wheat imports under the GSFMO's tight tender requirements. The requirements have since changed to include quality specifications such as lowering the protein levels suited to Western Australian APW quality and allowing a tolerance for Ergot.

The recent changes to the tender specifications will now allow Western Australian wheat to participate in this market.

Since 2008, Saudi Arabia has purchased 4.1 million tonnes of wheat - most of which is sourced from USA, Canada, Germany, Blacksea region and now Australia. Wheat imported into the Saudi market is predominantly used for milling into flour, and is then packaged and supplied for use in consumer food products across Saudi Arabia.

For more information on the Grains Silos and Flour Mills Organisation please click here.

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19 OctoberCBH releases freight estimates for 2010-11

The CBH Group has worked hard to keep freight rate increases minimal this season despite the state facing its second smallest crop in two decades.

CBH yesterday released the estimated freight rates for Western Australian growers for the 2010-11 season. Due to Grain Express, the overall increase to this season's freight rates has been kept to less than 5 per cent.   

Colin Tutt, General Manager Operations said without Grain Express which enabled CBH to successfully negotiate the grain transport task on behalf of WA growers, a low production year such as this could have seen rates increase by up to 25 percent.

"When comparing freight rates across the State, we've kept the increase to this season's estimated freight rates to below five percent," Mr Tutt said.

"This will be a welcome relief for many growers in Western Australia, particularly given we're facing our second smallest crop in twenty years."

Mr Tutt said minimal increases to freight rates in low production years such as this was one of the tangible benefits resulting from the introduction of the Grain Express system. Grain Express was introduced in the 2008-09 season, enabling the CBH Group to manage freight movements between its sites and develop transport contracts for road and rail on behalf of the industry.

"Through our negotiations with Australian Railroad Group (ARG), CBH has reduced the required rail resources to service the smaller harvest this year," he said.

"This has significantly reduced the fixed cost associated with using rail. The slight overall increase in this year's freight rates accommodates some fixed costs that are irrespective of the tonnages moved and the impact of inflation on road and rail services.

"Another factor that contributed to minimising increases to freight rates is that the CBH Group took out crop insurance earlier this year to help protect the Freight Pool against high fixed costs per tonne in a drought season."

Under Grain Express, rather than the traditional deduction from marketer payments, freight is charged directly to growers by the CBH Group's Freight Pool. Mr Tutt said this provides a more transparent representation of the freight rate and is designed to help avoid potential big increases in freight charges per tonne in poor years such as this.

"In May this year, we distributed a rebate of more $8 million to around 5,000 growers who paid freight to CBH for the 2008-09 season," he said.

"This year, given the difficult season, if there is any surplus from the 2009-10 Freight Pool it will be used to help keep the increase in freight rates for the 2010-11 season to a minimum.

"Growers are reminded that at this stage, freight rates are estimates only. In February 2011, when harvest is completed and we have a better understanding of the freight task required, the CBH Group will reassess the estimated freight rates and, based on these estimates, growers will receive their initial freight invoice for all grain nominated before the date of invoice. "

Earlier this year, in an effort to deliver more rail freight value for growers, the CBH Group went to tender for the provision of its grain rail freight services in Western Australia for the first time. After receiving significant interest in the tender, CBH is thoroughly assessing and comparing the different models and is working towards finalising the tender process by the end of the year.

Growers can find out more about the 2010-11 freight rates by logging into LoadNet®, visiting www.cbh.com.au (click here), or by contacting the Grower Service Centre on 1800 199 083.

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14 OctoberCBH Grain delivers more than $94 million to WA growers

In a timely help with cash flow for many Western Australian growers as harvest gets underway, CBH Grain has delivered a total of more than $94 million in distribution payments to all growers who participated in its 2009-10 wheat pools.

The payment was deposited into growers' bank accounts, or against outstanding loan accounts, on Friday, 8 October 2010 and was delivered to all 2009-10 wheat pool participants who selected the Distribution, Harvest Loan or Flexi Loan payment options.

CBH Grain's Head of Accumulation, Grant Thompson said this marks the third distribution payment for CBH Grain's 2009-10 wheat pools.

"Based on APW2 grade the third distribution payment for the 2009-10 Harvest Pool for Wheat was $55.76 per tonne," Mr Thompson said.

"This takes the cumulative percentage paid out to 62 percent of the pool's Estimated Pool Return (EPR) which is currently sitting at $248 per tonne, based on APW2. 

 "This EPR has been insulated from the strengthening Australian Dollar due to the high degree of hedge cover that CBH Grain has had in place for some time.

"Due to the amount that remains unsold, the potential for the 2009-10 Harvest Pool to realise additional value from the current rallying wheat market will be limited."

Mr Thompson said that not only is this payment a timely top-up for many growers, it is in line with the payment dates estimated in CBH Grain's Budget Guide for pool payments.

"This demonstrates our commitment to ensuring growers have more certainty over when they can expect to receive pool payments," he said.

"The payment also comes within a week of CBH distributing a $2.90 per tonne loyalty payment to all growers who directly marketed their grain with CBH Grain between 1 April, 2009 and 31 March, 2010. This is the second consecutive year that CBH Grain has distributed a grower loyalty payment and this year's loyalty payment is worth more than $14 million in total and has been delivered to around 6,300 Australian grain growers.

"As a grower-owned business, CBH is constantly looking at the ways in which we can create and return value to growers with our loyalty payment being one. This, together with the third distribution payment being delivered to 2009-10 wheat pool participants last week, will assist many growers with cash flow - assistance which is increasingly important in a difficult season such as this."

For full details on the third distribution payment for CBH Grain's 2009-10 wheat pools, growers should contact their local CBH Grain Regional Manager or the Grower Service Centre on 1800 199 083.

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14 OctoberCBH Grain - We're no 2 minute noodle

With harvest in Western Australia now underway, dry seasonal conditions continue to hamper crop estimates and shorten this season's supply to niche markets.

CBH Marketing Manager for Wheat, Tom Puddy said that noodle wheat is one of those niche marketing arrangements where supply needs to be carefully managed in low production years such as this.

"On average, customers require around 800,000 tonnes of noodle wheat per year - all of which is sourced from Western Australian growers," Mr Puddy said.

"WA is the only global grain growing region that has optimum agronomic conditions to produce noodle wheat and given the unique position this creates for WA noodle wheat growers, noodle wheat currently attracts a premium of around $35 per tonne above APW2.

"In low production years such as this, continuity and ensuring security of supply to international customers is increasingly important. This is why when growers are marketing their grain this season, they should be mindful of the size, reputation and experience that the marketer has in that particular market.

"While at times, there may not be a great deal of price difference on the day, there can be a significant difference in experience, scale, and reputation of the marketer which inturn impacts on the benefits growers can access in the long term."

Mr Puddy said that with CBH Grain, growers benefit from marketing their grain with a large scale business with a strong history. 

"CBH Grain has more than 85 years experience in marketing and trading grain," Mr Puddy said.

"Furthermore, the large scale tonnage we manage means that through our pooling products we can provide growers with a longer window of opportunity to capture potential upside in the market - particularly important this season given the strong outlook for wheat prices.

"CBH Grain's involvement in grain marketing goes beyond buying and track trading grain. Year-round, we work with the industry and customers to secure, sustain and protect the long term supply agreements for WA grain growers."

In 2009, CBH Grain announced its partnership with Intergrain Pty Ltd to promote market development of the Binnu, Yandanooka and Fortune noodle wheat varieties. In addition, CBH Grain is currently the only Australian owned, and grower owned, grain marketer who has established an office in Japan and Hong Kong to directly link growers to their customers in northern Asia.

For more information on CBH Grain's marketing options for noodle wheat this season, growers should contact their local CBH Grain Regional Manager or the Grower Service Centre on 1800 199 083.

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11 OctoberHarvest underway in Western Australia

Western Australia's grain harvest for the 2010-11 season is underway after two tonnes of canola was delivered to the CBH Group's Geraldton Terminal on Friday, 8 October 2010.

CBH General Manager Operations, Colin Tutt said to-date, around 500 tonnes has been received at the Geraldton Terminal and the CBH Group's Metro Grain Centre in Forrestfield, Perth.

"We've received deliveries of canola and lupins so far and deliveries of cereal grains are likely to start coming in the Geraldton Zone in the next week," Mr Tutt said.

"Given the dry conditions this season, we've continued to downgrade the estimate in the lead up to harvest with the current forecast for this season's total crop being 5.9 million tonnes."

Current estimates per port zone are as follows;

Geraldton              1.4 million tonnes

Kwinana                1.6 million tonnes

Albany                   1.4 million tonnes

Esperance                        1.5 million tonnes

Mr Tutt said that if accurate at harvest, this would make it WA's second smallest crop in the last 20 years.

"Our five year harvest average is 10 million tonnes," Mr Tutt said.

"At this stage we're looking at taking in just over half this average and we are well behind last season's 11.3 million tonne crop.

"The Esperance zone is shaping up to have a fairly good season with the current estimate falling slightly short of the 1.6 million tonnes the zone received last harvest.

"Growers in the Kwinana port zone and in the northern end of the Albany zone have been the most affected by the lack of rainfall with the Kwinana zone likely to be around 3 million tonne short of the crop delivered in the zone last season."

As a result of the poor season, the CBH Group is estimating that around 100 receival sites will be impacted this harvest with many sites not opening for deliveries or will be operating for only very limited services. For this reason, the CBH Group is taking certified grower receivals at its Kwinana Port Terminal this harvest and CBH is encouraging growers in the Kwinana zone to deliver directly to port, where feasible.

"This will be the first time that we've opened up the terminal to this extent for grower receivals," he said.

"Growers will need to certify their deliveries and register their details with the Kwinana Terminal prior to delivery so that they receive the necessary site and safety information before delivery. Receival services will be limited at the terminal, however, we will advise those growers who are registered to deliver to the terminal of the site services for the following day. Growers wishing to register to deliver to the Kwinana Terminal should phone 9591 5133."

Mr Tutt said he is encouraging all growers to stay in touch with their local Area Managers at harvest for the most up-to-date information on site and service availability.

More information on site availability can be found at www.cbh.com.au (click here for direct page) or by phoning the Grower Service Centre on 1800 199 083.

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05 OctoberCBH sets up Seed Donation Program for growers

The CBH Group is working with the Department of Agriculture and Food WA (DAFWA), plant breeding companies and other parties in the seed industry to set up a Seed Donation Program this season. The program will assist those growers who have been severely affected by the extreme dry conditions in much of the Western Australia wheatbelt this year.

The program will give WA growers the opportunity to help out fellow grain growers who are facing severe hardship because of the State's dry growing season by donating grain to help them with planting next season's crop.

Colin Tutt, CBH General Manager Operations said growers can donate any grain type regardless of grade or variety. Donations of grain which are not of seed quality, or not suited to the drought-affected growing areas, will be sold and the funds will be used to buy the appropriate varieties.

"Donated tonnes will be allocated to those growers facing the most hardship due to the drought," Mr Tutt said.

"We will work with the Department of Agriculture and Food WA and local community representatives to develop the criteria for allocating any tonnages in the fairest way possible way and to ensure they go to those most in need.

"We are also working together on the logistics of the program to ensure that we segregate suitable varieties, that the grain is verified and tested for quality, and that it is available at appropriate sites for collection early next year."

Mr Tutt said CBH is encouraging all growers who have been badly affected by this year's drought to register their interest in receiving a seed donation by contacting the Grower Service Centre on 1800 199 083.

Details on how growers can donate grain directly via Loadnet will be available soon. The program will work in a similar way to the Foodbank Grain Donation program, with growers able to nominate their loads to an "acquirer" called Seed Donation Program.

Mr Tutt said CBH had also decided to contribute all tonnes forfeited this year under the Harvest Mass Management Scheme to the Seed Donation Program.

The CBH Group and the Department of Agriculture and Food WA introduced a similar Seed Donation Program in the 2007-08 harvest when growers in the northern agricultural regions were in need of assistance. At this time, more than 80 growers received seed from tonnes donated in the program.

Mr Tutt said the areas most affected this year are those in the southern to mid-west regions.

"This year we have a reversal of the situation we had in 2007, "Mr Tutt said.

"Growers located in the northern parts of the Albany Zone right up to the bulk of the growing regions in the Kwinana zones have been hardest hit.

"I am sure that many growers who previously received donations from their fellow growers in the southern regions would like the opportunity to repay their kindness."

The 2010-11 harvest in Western Australia, expected to get underway in the next few days, continues to be downgraded with dry seasonal conditions worsening the outlook for the State's wheatbelt. The current forecast for this season's total crop is 6.2 million tonnes which, if accurate at harvest, would make it WA's fourth smallest crop in the last 20 years.

For more information on the Seed Donation Program growers can contact the Grower Service Centre on 1800 199 083.

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04 OctoberCBH Grain strengthens regional network in Eastern Australia

CBH Grain has further demonstrated its commitment to servicing growers in Eastern Australia with the appointment of a new Regional Manager for northern New South Wales and Queensland.

CBH Grain Manager Eastern Australia, Chris Ayers said he was pleased to announce that Georgina Whiting, previously CBH Grain's Regional Manager for South East South Australia and western Victoria, had been appointed to the new role and will be based in Moree, NSW.

Kim Colwell, previously a member of CBH Grain's Melbourne-based Grower Services team, will become the new Regional Manager based in Horsham, Victoria, serving growers located in Western Victoria and in regions throughout the South East of South Australia.

"Georgina has solid industry experience including more than three years with CBH Grain as Regional Manager," Mr Ayers said.

"She is looking forward to meeting local growers, assisting them with their grain marketing requirements and helping to maximise the value of their crop. This harvest CBH Grain will be introducing a Harvest Pool for wheat in NSW and Queensland as well as offering cash contracts and cash-at-silo.

"Kim is also looking forward to stepping into Georgina's previous role. Kim has a strong background in agriculture, hailing from a cropping enterprise in southern NSW and having a Bachelor of Agriculture from University of Melbourne's Dookie Agricultural College where she won the Claire Leslie Memorial Prize."

CBH Grain General Manager, Brian Mumme said the expansion of the Eastern Australian network demonstrated CBH Grain's commitment to providing the same competitive, grower-focussed products and services it had built up over more than 80 years of operation in Western Australia.

"We have significantly increased our business in Eastern Australia since setting up a network three years ago based on our longstanding competitive strengths: price, service, experience, strength and reliability," Mr Mumme said.

Click here for more information on CBH Grain's Regional Manager Network in Eastern Australia.

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04 OctoberCBH Grain releases 2010-11 Nominated EPRs

CBH Grain has released its Nominated Estimated Pool Returns (NEPRs) for the 2010-11 harvest in Western Australia. The NEPRs are the rates on which CBH Grain bases its advance payments and harvest loans.

CBH Grain General Manager Brian Mumme said that releasing the NEPRs and advance payment percentages gave growers certainty over cash flow and returns as many headed into a tough harvest.

"In a difficult season, growers will be looking for stability and security from their marketer," Mr Mumme said.

"To assist with cashflow in what is obviously a time of hardship, CBH Grain has made every effort to make the advances as competitive as possible.

 "This has been a challenge with the international market at 15-month highs but we have achieved a suitable balance between maximising grower cash flow at harvest and not exposing pool participants to undue levels of risk."

The advance payments for wheat, canola and barley have all increased 5 percentage points this year to 75%, 75% and 70% of the NEPRs respectively. Lupins have increased 10 percentage points to 75%.

Mr Mumme said CBH Grain was also continuing its longstanding practice of posting realistic estimates of what it expected the pool return to be. He said it was important growers compare the track record of marketers to see if their pool return estimates at harvest were consistent with the final performance of the pool.

"Our NEPRs are a genuine and accurate reflection of where we see the market," Mr Mumme said. "While the actual return can not be finalised until the pool's sales program is complete, a considerable amount of work goes into making sure we provide growers with an estimate that we genuinely believe we can deliver, if all things remain equal."

Growers should also take into account that CBH Grain has not offered an Early Contract Bonus this year because it would have been irresponsible in current market circumstances to have offered a bonus which had the potential to damage pool returns for all growers.

"It is our view that prices will remain strong into harvest, meaning any potential losses from early hedges could be significantly amplified if pool tonnages come in lower than expected at harvest time," Mr Mumme said.

Growers who market their grain through CBH Grain will also benefit from the fastest payment terms available this season in Western Australia, with payments now delivered within 7 business days after nomination.

The pools opened for delivery on Friday, 1 October 2010. Growers can also book Guaranteed Access Contracts to secure themselves a place in the pool before delivery as pools can close without notice and at any time.

The NEPRs, Advance and Loan Percentages for Western Australia are set out below:

 

NEPR ($/t)

Advance %

Loan %

Wheat

350

75

85

Barley - malt

343

70

80

Barley - feed

290

70

80

Canola

540

75

85

Lupins

285

75

85

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September

24 SeptemberCBH Grain well placed to fund the 2010-11 crop

CBH Grain is well placed to finance payments to growers this harvest, with more than $1 billion in funding available to finance the 2010-11 crop. The funding facilities are pooled from ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, HSBC Australia, National Australia Bank Westpac and Rabobank.

CBH Grain General Manager, Brian Mumme said this gives CBH Grain the financial capacity to further build on its market share this season. 

"To have funding of this scale available reflects the strength of the CBH Group as a business," Mr Mumme said. 

"Our strong financial backing provides growers with confidence and assurance, knowing that they will be paid when they market their grain with CBH Grain. 

"With a significant number of new entrants in the Australian grain marketing arena, security of payment is becoming an increasingly important factor for growers when considering their grain marketing options as not all grain marketers have the same strong balance sheet." 

Mr Mumme said the CBH Group's prudent management of its financial systems and processes was recognised last week when CBH was nominated as a finalist in the Risk Management category of this year's NAB Agribusiness Awards for Excellence. 

"As a grower-owned business, we pride ourselves in mitigating any risk for our growers - whether it be financial, compliance, operational or strategic risks," he said. 

"Being selected as a finalist for the Risk Management Award demonstrates the thorough processes and systems CBH has in place to ensure we fully assess, realise and successfully manage all risks facing the business." 

Winners in the NAB Agribusiness Awards will be announced on Thursday, 28 October 2010 at a Gala Dinner in Melbourne. The CBH Group was selected as a finalist in the Awards in the same month as being named Australia's No.1 Co-operative in the Top 100 Co-operatives, Credit Unions and Mutuals list released by Co-operatives Australia earlier this month.

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14 SeptemberCBH Group shares structure models with growers

The CBH Group has reached another key phase in its investigation into the best structure for its future with the unveiling to growers of a shortlist of three broad models, all retaining Co-operative principles.

The models are being presented to growers by CBH Group Chairman, Neil Wandel and Chief Executive Officer, Dr Andrew Crane, at a series of meetings throughout the Western Australian wheatbelt which began on Friday.

Mr Wandel said the first and second phases of the structure investigation - surveying members' views and assessing a full range of potential structural options - had led the Board to the conclusion that CBH should remain a Co-operative.

"For our members, the retention of our Co-operative principles and member ownership were critical," Mr Wandel said.

"And, from a strategic perspective, there is plenty of evidence that Co-ops can be as successful as any corporate model provided they are structured to adapt to their changing environment and to the needs of different members.

"We are very confident that a Co-operative structure will not only enable us to compete against bigger international grain businesses but give us an advantage. It makes us different because we alone return all the value we create back to the same growers who do business with us rather than having to satisfy external shareholders." 

The three broad models which have been shortlisted for further assessment are:

  • A non-distributing Co-op - retains CBH's current tax-exempt status with value returned to members through competitive services and rebates
  • A distributing Co-op, which allows distribution of profits to growers in the form of cash and/or share rebates.
  • A dual Co-op, which comprises two separate Co-operative entities, one holding storage and handling assets and the other holding the remaining assets of the business.

Mr Wandel said the CBH Board and Management would incorporate grower feedback as part of its continuing assessment of the three options to reach a preferred model. This is expected to occur in early 2011 although that could be influenced by the timing of a Federal Court decision on the Tax Office's appeal against CBH's existing tax-exempt status.

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13 SeptemberCBH sponsored Award showcases pick of the crop

Finalists for the 2010 Grain Grower of the Year Award were announced today.

Nicholas Harrison, Sea Lake, Victoria, Michael Chilvers, Winburn, Tasmania, and Keith Perrett, Gunnedah, New South Wales, have been judged as standout entrants in the inaugural Award, hosted by Kondinin Group and ABC Rural as part of the first Australian Farmer of the Year Awards event.

The Grain Grower of the Year Award, sponsored by the CBH Group, recognises excellence in grain production spanning the various grain belts across Australia.

CBH Group Director and Award judge, Clancy Michael, said the level of entrants was impressive and deciding on the finalists was a challenging task.

"All applicants were of the highest standard. These growers are managing state-of the-art technology and applying the results of cutting-edge plant breeding, all while performing in a dynamic marketing environment," Mr Michael said.

"Their contribution to the grains industry is significant and well worth this honour."

Award sponsor, CBH Group CEO Dr Andrew Crane congratulated the finalists on their achievement.

"The Award provides a great opportunity for our industry to recognise the outstanding work growers are doing across the country," Dr Crane said.

"These growers are leaders in the grain industry and must be praised for proactively tackling the challenges they face daily and for making the most of every opportunity available to them."

Dr Crane acknowledged that with a growing world population, grain production has never been more important.

"To meet the future demands of our growing population, Australia's grain industry needs innovative leaders. I congratulate the efforts of our finalists and wish them the best of luck for the remaining judging period."

The winner of the Grain Grower of the Year Award will be announced at the Farmer of the Year Awards gala dinner in Sydney on Tuesday, 21 September.

All Award finalists and winners are in the running for the prestigious Australian Farmer of the Year title. Other Award categories include Young farmer of the Year, Wool Producer of the Year, Future-Focused Farmer of the Year, Industry-Leader Farmer of the Year and Biosecurity Farmer of the Year.

Tickets to the Awards ceremony and gala dinner are available from Kondinin Group by contacting 1800 677 761 or email verity.todd@kondinin.com.au or visit www.kondinin.com.au/events and follow the links to the Awards Dinner.

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13 SeptemberCBH Grain to pay growers $2.90 per tonne loyalty payment

CBH Grain has announced that the loyalty payment to growers who marketed their grain with CBH Grain last season will be $2.90 per tonne. The payment will apply for both cash sales and pooling options, however, track trades will be excluded from the payment.

This payment marks the second consecutive year that CBH Grain will share its success with growers and delivers on CBH's intention to deliver the unique loyalty payment every season to all growers who choose CBH Grain as their marketer.

CBH Grain General Manager, Brian Mumme said all growers who marketed their grain with CBH Grain between1 April 2009 and 31 March 2010 are eligible to receive the payment.

"CBH Grain's total Customer Loyalty Payment is worth $15 million for Australian growers this year," Mr Mumme said. 

"As a grower-owned business, we are focussed solely on investigating the ways in which we can deliver greater value to our growers.

"We know that it is not enough to expect that growers will be loyal to CBH Grain just because we are grower-owned, we need to provide more value to them than our competitors."

Mr Mumme said despite it being a much more competitive marketing environment, CBH Grain was able to keep the loyalty payment at a significant level of $2.90 per tonne this year.

"Last year's loyalty payment was $2.95 per tonne and not only are we offering growers a loyalty payment for the second year running but we've managed to keep this year's payment at a significant value," he said.

"Due to the large volume we received in the 2009-10 harvest we were able to spread our overhead costs across more tonnes, therefore lowering the cost per tonne. Last season, CBH Grain was again the largest acquirer in Western Australia, marketing around half of the State's grain and significantly building on the amount of grain it traded in Eastern Australia.

"Deregulation has brought about strong, robust competition in the grain marketing arena and now, more than ever, growers have more choice.

"This is why it's vital that CBH as a business strengthens its competitive advantage of not only being strongly connected to growers, but existing simply for growers and putting them at the forefront of everything we do."

Mr Mumme said the loyalty payment will be distributed to eligible growers in October. Detailed information on the loyalty payment will be sent directly to growers at this time.

For further information on CBH Grain's Customer Loyalty Payment please contact your local CBH Grain Regional Manager or the Grower Service Centre on 1800 199 083.

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10 SeptemberCBH Grain releases Estimated Pool Returns for 2010-11

CBH Grain has released the Estimated Pool Returns (EPRs) for its 2010-11 harvest pools for Western Australian growers. Please click here to see the full list of EPRs.

CBH Grain's Head of Accumulation, Grant Thompson said releasing Estimated Pool Returns in the lead up to harvest provides growers with price direction as they head into the season.

"There are a number of variables that affect the pool return throughout the selling season," Mr Thompson said.

"However, CBH Grain is committed to posting realistic and competitive pool estimates and our figures are a genuine reflection of the market.

 "A considerable amount of work goes into ensuring we provide growers with an estimate that is as accurate as possible - an estimate which we genuinely believe we can deliver on if all things remain equal."

Mr Thompson said Australian growers are currently seeing price benefits, particularly for wheat, as other international grain producing regions face pressure.

"Factors contributing to the tightening global wheat stocks include Russia experiencing the most severe drought in a century and Canada's wet spring which led to poor sowings and yield prospects in the region," he said.

"We anticipate continued strong support for our No.1 Harvest Pools this season, with pools well positioned to take advantage of the favourable market conditions.

"Our specialist team of grain trading and marketing professionals are focused on surveying the market and working with customers to ensure growers receive maximum value for their grain."

Growers wishing to secure their spot in CBH Grain's No.1 Harvest Pools can take out a Guaranteed Access Contract, simply by contacting their local CBH Grain Regional Manager or phoning the Grower Service Centre on 1800 199 083.

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07 SeptemberCBH named Australia’s No.1 Co-operative

The CBH Group has been named Australia's No.1 Co-operative in the Top 100 Co-operatives, Credit Unions and Mutuals list released by Co-operatives Australia last week. To view the list click here and click on CWA News.

Co-operatives Australia, the national body for State Co-operative Federations, compiled the list of the top 100 performers based on total group revenue including marketing pool revenues. Industries represented in the list include agriculture, financial services, insurance and retail.

CBH Group CEO, Dr Andrew Crane said being listed as Australia's No.1 co-operative, with a total revenue of $3.55 billion, is a significant milestone for the CBH Group.

"Furthermore, it's a significant achievement for our members - the growers of Western Australia," Dr Crane said.

"The CBH Group is a grower owned and controlled business and we are unique in the benefits we provide the Australian grain industry.

"The Top 100 list demonstrates that co-operatives can be just as financially secure and successful as corporate entities."

Dr Crane said the CBH Group had undergone significant transformation over the past 12 months in order to become a far more efficient and effective organisation with the aim to create even more value for grain growers.

"Over the coming month I will join Chairman, Neil Wandel as we conduct our annual Chairman / CEO meetings and meet with members across the State to discuss the issues impacting the future of their co-operative."

The CBH Chairman / CEO meetings kick off in Three Springs and Mullewa on Friday, 10 September and will wind up in Brookton on Wednesday, 13 October. For more information on meeting dates, times and venue, contact the Grower Service Centre on 1800 199 083 or click here.

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August

30 AugustNo increase in CBH storage and handling fees for 2010-11

The CBH Group has announced that it will keep its total storage and handling charges flat for the third season in a row, maintaining Western Australia as the best value grain export supply chain in Australia.

Chief Executive Officer, Dr Andrew Crane, said the decision to hold the benchmark cost of using the CBH supply chain to $27.10 a tonne demonstrated the real benefits to growers and the grain industry of the Grain Express logistics co-ordination system and the major program of initiatives underway at CBH to lift efficiency and effectiveness.

It also underlined to growers the value of having a supply chain managed by their own Co-operative.

"The decision comes despite the significant increase in costs that CBH faces for electricity, fuel, labour and other inputs and the prospect of a well below-average harvest which will increase the fixed costs per tonne of our network," Dr Crane said.

"The CBH Group is unique among major Australian grain companies in existing to maximise returns to growers. We understand the challenges many growers are facing due to their own rising costs and the difficult season in many areas and we want to deliver as much value to them as possible while ensuring we can deliver the services they need into the future.

 "Other major bulk handlers in Australia have recently announced significant increases in their fees for 2010-11, reflecting their different priorities.

 "Our decision also gives growers and marketers the opportunity to further understand the major restructure of our charges we implemented last year to provide greater simplicity and transparency."

CBH Group Chairman Neil Wandel said the maintenance of total storage and handling fees at the same level for the third year in a row demonstrated the CBH Board's commitment to putting growers' interests first.

"We are the only major grain organisation that remains grower-owned and controlled and where all our business decisions are wholly driven by the best long-term interests of growers.," Mr Wandel said.  

Under the 2010-11 schedule, the benchmark charge for the CBH supply chain from receival to shipping will remain at $27.10 at tonne (based on wheat delivered to a Tier 1 site).  The receival fee will remain $10 a tonne and the shipping fee will remain $17.10 for grain delivered either direct to port or through the Grain Express system managed by CBH. Growers can access details of all charges in the Harvest Handbook to be delivered in September.

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30 AugustShareholder meetings to discuss future structure of CBH Group

CBH Group members will have the opportunity to discuss the future of their Co-operative with Chairman, Neil Wandel and CEO, Dr Andrew Crane at the CBH Group's annual Chairman / CEO meetings next month.

These meetings will provide growers with an opportunity to hear more about the progress of the Board's investigation into the most appropriate future structure for the business and to receive greater detail on the shortlist of preferred models.

CBH Chairman, Neil Wandel said members will also receive greater insight into how CBH is working to become a more efficient and effective business.

"I urge all members to attend these meetings," Mr Wandel said.

"This is a valuable opportunity for members to provide their feedback on the potential models being presented and to ensure their input is considered as we work towards a final decision on structure.

"The need to ensure CBH has the most appropriate structure in place has never been more important and, with pressures such as continued consolidation and the growing presence of international competitors occurring in the grain industry, it is vital that growers understand all the issues that will impact the future of their co-operative."

Mr Wandel said the meetings provide members with an opportunity to 'step into the Board room' and have a closer look at their business.

"Make no mistake, the CBH Group is transforming to become a far more efficient and effective business," he said.

"We are the only major Australian grain business that remains grower-owned - one that is wholly committed to its grower-members and one that makes every business decision in the best interests of growers.  

"The review of our structure, and the changes CBH is making in the way it operates, will help ensure it remains competitive, successful and able to continue creating value for growers in the long-term."

Mr Wandel said all CBH members would have received an invitation in the post to attend their local Chairman / CEO meeting. The meetings kick off in Three Springs and Mullewa on Friday, 10 September and will wind up in Brookton on Wednesday, 13 October. For more information on meeting dates, times and venue, contact the Grower Service Centre on 1800 199 083 or click here.

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25 AugustCBH welcomes decision to continue HMMS

The CBH Group has welcomed the State Government's move to continue using its Harvest Mass Management Scheme (HMMS) for the Western Australian grain industry for the 2010-11 harvest onwards.

This announcement comes after the Minister for Transport and Main Roads WA adopted the scheme as a model for the industry in October last year.

CBH General Manager Operations, Colin Tutt said this is pleasing news for Western Australian grain growers and transporters.

"We welcome the State Government's decision to adopt the Harvest Mass Management Scheme," Mr Tutt said.

"This harvest will mark the fifth year that our Harvest Mass Management Scheme has been in place for the Western Australian grain industry.

"In this time, we've seen a significant drop in the number of trucks overloading. Last season, less than 1 percent of deliveries were outside the parameters set by the scheme.

"This shows the system's ability to successfully address the issue of overloading vehicles at harvest, while also ensuring growers and transporters can work within reasonable, flexible tolerances when carting grain to site."

Mr Tutt said he was hopeful that the business rules which will apply to the Scheme this harvest would be confirmed within the next few weeks.

"We will be informing growers and transporters when we have been notified of this year's rules, however, I believe they will be fairly similar to those in place last harvest," he said.

"As was the case last year, the scheme will only apply to deliveries made during the harvest period from 1 October to 28 February."

The business rules set by Main Roads WA last year required all growers and transporters to carry a copy of the Government Gazette Notice and a Carters Delivery Form (CDF) in their vehicle when delivering grain to CBH Group sites. Growers also needed to register their truck prior to delivery.

Background:

The CBH Group's Harvest Mass Management Scheme (HMMS) was endorsed by Main Roads and the Minister for Transport in October 2009. The HMMS is designed to encourage the adoption of suitable loading controls on farm for grain vehicles at harvest and loading to legal limits. Under the scheme, an extra mass concession of up to 10 percent is allowed to cater for loading variability.

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24 AugustVictorian growers snap up prizes in photo competition

CBH Grain has announced the winners of its annual photographic competition with Willaura grain grower, Helena Brain again taking home the prize for Overall Winner in the Eastern Australian growers category.

Ms Brain, who also received the prize for Overall Winner in last year's photo competition, won the title again this year for a photo which visually captured the challenge of harvesting the crop as the clouds and rain rolled in. (Click here to view all winning entries in the competition).

Shirley Wylie from Horsham and Trudy Ryan from Manangatang were awarded runners up in the same category. Ms Wylie and Ms Ryan both captured the glow of the sun as it sets down on the rural landscape.

Professional Photographer, Gary Peters and General Manager for the Countryman Newspaper, Paul Mole judged the competition last Thursday, 19 August 2010 selecting 19 winners from the categories: CBH Group Members; Rural Residents; Children; CBH Group Staff Members and; Eastern Australian growers.

Mr Peters said the entries were of exceptional standard.

"We had great difficulty selecting an overall winner as a lot of thought and modern technique went into this year's entries," Mr Peters said.

"We noticed a common theme this year with dramatic weather shots showcasing Mother Nature at her best, capturing sunsets, lightning and dramatic cloud formations."

Mr Mole said each category had its standouts but the overall winners had that something extra.

"As someone who sees thousands of images each year, the originality and quality of the photographs was really good in this year's competition," Mr Mole said.

"You can tell instantly if a photographer has thought about what they're shooting and for this year's winners in the Eastern Australian grower category it was all about the use of natural light and colour."

The theme of this year's photo competition was Up for the Challenge and entrants were required to visually depict life in the grainbelt by capturing the triumphs and challenges of living on the land; the growth of the ever changing grains industry; and the spirit of partnership and the community in working together for the future.

The winning entries will be on display at the CBH Group marquee at selected Field Days and industry events in Eastern Australia. The Countryman People's Choice Award is still open for nominations and you can vote for your favourite photo by logging on to www.countryman.com.au and selecting your favourite photo. The Countryman People's Choice Award winner will be announced early next month.

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24 AugustCBH announces photo competition winners

The CBH Group has announced the winners of its 10th annual photographic competition with two entrants sharing the title of Overall Winner.

Ian Hill of Yealering was awarded joint overall winner for his photo in the CBH Member category which captured a tractor dry seeding  - highlighting the challenge of working the land with little rainfall. (Click here to view all winning entries)

Chelsea Badger of Pingrup also shared in the prize of overall winner. Chelsea entered the Children's category with a photo which highlighted the challenges of finding network reception in rural areas.  

Professional Photographer, Gary Peters and Countryman General Manager, Paul Mole judged the competition last Thursday, 19 August 2010 selecting 19 winners from the categories: CBH Group Members; Rural Residents; Children; CBH Group Staff Members and; Eastern Australian growers.

Mr Peters said the entries were of exceptional standard.

"As was the case with Mr Hill's winning entry, a lot of the photos showed the use of modern techniques such as carefully cropping photos," Mr Peters said.

"We noticed a common theme this year with dramatic weather shots showcasing Mother Nature at her best, capturing lightning and dramatic cloud formations.

"Many of the entries were taken with theme of the competition in mind, meaning they were set up to capture the theme of the competition Up for the Challenge. We certainly saw this in Chelsea's winning photo and what's encouraging is that Chelsea was selected an overall winner for her entry in the Children's category."

Mr Mole said each category had its standouts but the overall winners had that something extra.

"As someone who sees thousands of images each year, the originality and quality of the photographs was really good in this year's competition," Mr Mole said.

"You can tell instantly if a photographer has thought about what they're shooting. The broad range of subjects, and the use of light and colour in the entries this year was terrific."

The theme of this year's photo competition is Up for the Challenge and entrants were required to visually depict life in WA's grainbelt by capturing the triumphs and challenges of living on the land; the growth of the ever changing grains industry; and the spirit of partnership and the community in working together for the future.

The winning entries will be on display at the CBH Group marquee at the upcoming Dowerin, Newdegate and Mingenew Field Days. Visitors to the CBH marquee at Dowerin will be able to view a slideshow of all entries and have the opportunity to vote for their personal favourite in the Countryman People's Choice Award.

Alternatively you can still vote for your favourite photo by logging on to www.countryman.com.au and selecting your favourite photo. The Countryman People's Choice Award winner will be announced early next month.

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23 AugustCBH Grain makes waves with bulk sorghum shipment

CBH Grain has broken new ground in the Australian grain industry with its first bulk shipment of sorghum to China.

It is believed that this could be the first ever bulk shipment of Australian sorghum of this scale to the Chinese market.

The 40, 000 tonne cargo set sail from the Mackay port in Central Queensland on Friday, 30 July and is currently unloading in China where it will be used for alcohol production.

Sorghum Trader for CBH Grain, Scott Haughton said this is a significant milestone for Australian sorghum growers.

"Opportunities such as this provide real value to growers," Mr Haughton said.

"It assists with securing future supply agreements with international markets and we're proud to be able to link our growers to their customers."

Mr Haughton said that traditionally, sales of Australian sorghum into the Chinese market have been exported in containers.

"The major international market for Australian sorghum is Japan, where it is commonly sold as a combination cargo with APH wheat," he said.

"However, Australian sorghum has excellent appearance and good starch and protein levels, which is why in recent years Australian sorghum has received attention from the Chinese market both for white liquor making and for use as animal feed.

"Although we're looking at lower export tonnage for Australian sorghum this year, in the last few years we've seen exports of up to 1 million tonnes a season to international markets."

For more information on CBH Grain's marketing options for Sorghum grain, contact the CBH Grain Grower Service Centre on 1800 107 759.

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16 AugustCBH Grain pays growers faster

Growers who market their grain with CBH Grain will now receive their payments faster as CBH Grain has reduced its payment terms for its cash and pooling options. This move will make CBH Grain the fastest paying grain marketer in Western Australia.

This is a significant change for cash contracts as it will mean Western Australian growers will now receive payment within seven business days from the date of nomination to CBH Grain. Previously, growers received payment within 15 business days from the end of the week that the grain was nominated.

CBH Grain General Manager, Brian Mumme said the change to payment terms will mean pool payments will now be delivered faster.  

"Our pool participants who use the Advance payment option have enjoyed payment terms of seven business days since the 2008-09 season," Mr Mumme said.

"However, this payment will now be delivered within seven days from the date of nomination rather than the end of the week the grain was nominated.

"Fast and timely payments are important to growers and assist them with their cash flow. For this reason, we've improved our payment system - making it simpler for growers and enabling them to access their payments faster."

Mr Mumme said CBH Grain takes pride in its ability to deliver accurate payments to growers and on time.

"We are focused on looking for ways in which we can improve our systems and services, and deliver real value to growers," he said.

"One of the ways we're delivering on this is by providing growers with a loyalty payment again this year."

Mr Mumme said growers who nominated their grain to CBH Grain between 1 April 2009 and 31 March 2010 would be eligible for this year's loyalty payment. The exact figure for this year's payment will be confirmed next month.

For more information on payment terms and CBH Grain's loyalty payment, please contact your local CBH Grain Regional Manager.

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05 AugustCBH members vote against resolution at EGM

Shareholders of the CBH Group have voted overwhelmingly against a resolution proposed by a small group of shareholders to change the composition of the Board and the Director election system.

Of the shareholders who voted at today's Extraordinary General Meeting, 84.42% voted against the resolution and 15.58 % voted for the resolution.  Any resolution to change the CBH Group Articles of Association requires the support of at least 75 per cent of those who vote.

The number of proxies received was the highest ever for any resolution put to a CBH Group General Meeting.

CBH Group Chairman, Neil Wandel said the Board's recommendation to vote against the resolution was in tune with shareholders who strongly supported the Board's view and rejected the resolution.

The proposed resolution was to change the Board from 12 Directors, comprising nine grower directors and up to three Board-appointed directors with special skills, to a Board of between seven and nine directors, comprising four grower directors, three board-appointed directors with special skills and up to two executive directors. The proposed resolution would also change the existing five-district election system to a State-wide voting system.

"The Board has conducted several reviews of its composition over the past five years," Mr Wandel said.

"This has brought us to conclude that the best model for CBH at present is the five-district election system which was approved by more than 75% of members who voted only 10 months ago.

"Given this, and considering we're currently in the process of conducting the most extensive review of our structure in the history of the CBH Group, many shareholders shared the Board's disappointment with the timing of this EGM."

Mr Wandel said this resolution lacked shareholder support as many shareholders were aware that the CBH Group already operates within a sound corporate governance framework. 

"There is not one corporate governance model that suits all businesses and the most appropriate model for a co-operative will differ to that for a listed company," he said.

"One of the key findings of our review of the CBH Group's structure to-date is that grower representation on the Board is important and while Directors represent all shareholders, it is important to have Directors located in different regions, who are familiar with local issues."

"Now with this EGM behind us the Board will continue its focus on determining the most appropriate structure for the CBH Group.

"We are closing in on a preferred model or models and I look forward to sharing more about this with shareholders at our upcoming Chairman / CEO meetings next month."

Growers will receive more information on the dates, times and location of the CBH Group's CEO/Chairman meetings in the next few weeks.

Mr Wandel noted that shareholders also supported the Board's recommendation to vote in favour of the second resolution put to today's EGM: the ratification of David Willis as a Director. More than 94% of shareholders who voted, voted in favour of this resolution. The Articles require a new Board-appointed Director to be ratified by shareholders at the next general meeting.

"I congratulate Mr Willis on his ratification and look forward to his continuing valuable contribution to the Board," he said.

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July

12 JulyCBH Grain delivers pool payments to WA growers during July

CBH Grain customers across Australia have started to receive their next round of pool payments, with the national grain accumulator delivering $117 million in payments to date this month.

Second Distribution and Advance payments were made to growers late last week who participated in the 2009-10 wheat pools and opted for Distributions, Advance, Harvest or Flexi loan payment options.

Additionally, growers who opted for the Deferred payment method and participated in the 2009-10 wheat, barley, canola, lupins or oats pools received payment during the first week of July.

Growers in the barley, canola, lupins or oats pools who selected Distributions, Advance, Harvest or Flexi loan payment options can expect their payment before the end of the month.

CBH Grain General Manager, Brian Mumme, said he was pleased payment deliveries were being made this month and that they are in-line with the dates estimated in our Budget Guide for 2009-10 pool payments.

 "CBH Grain has always credited itself for ensuring growers receive reliable and secure returns on our pools, and we have continued to deliver on that this year."

Mr Mumme also acknowledged that the Deferred payment represented 90% of the current Estimated Pool Return (EPR) for the wheat, barley, canola, lupins and oats pools, while the second Advance payment for the wheat pools takes the percentage paid to 90% for Harvest Pool and Managed Pool. The Benchmark Pool is at 80% of the current EPR.

"Based on APW2 in the Harvest Pool, the second Distribution payment was $47.63 per tonne and takes the cumulative percentage paid out to 40%." said Mr Mumme.

"We hope this payment helps growers with the upcoming harvest and that they will be confident in working with CBH Grain again this year."

The decline of the Australian Dollar in recent months has supported CBH Grain's Harvest Pool for wheat which has a current EPR of $245 per tonne based on APW2. Our wheat sales program is tracking well with the South East Asian region making up to 32% of the sales to date. Sales into the Middle East are expected to continue to increase during the next few months as buyers look to cover their demand until the new crop harvest. Dry conditions in the European production regions are also expected to favour Australian wheat.

The next Distribution payment for all of CBH Grain's 2009-10 pools will be delivered during October 2010.

 

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12 JulyCBH Grain makes pool payments to Eastern Australian growers

CBH Grain's growers across Australia are set to receive their next round of pool payments this month, with the national grain marketer delivering $117 million in payments.

Distribution and Harvest payments were made last week to Eastern Australian growers who participated in the 2009-10 wheat pools.

CBH Grain Manager Eastern Australia, Chris Ayers, said he was pleased payments were being made this month to assist growers with their mid-season cash flow.

"CBH Grain has always focused on ensuring growers receive reliable and secure returns from our pools, and we have continued to deliver on that."

"We believe this payment will help growers with their preparations for the upcoming harvest and that they will be confident in working with CBH Grain again this year."

"We were impressed with the high-level of support from South Australia and Victorian growers, which has been justified given the competitive nature of our equities and we look forward to enjoying the same level of support when our 2010-11 pools open later in the season."

The decline of the Australian Dollar in recent months has supported CBH Grain's Harvest Pool for wheat, which has a current Estimated Pool Return of $249 per tonne in SA and $251 per tonne in Victoria, based on APW1.

CBH Grain's sales program is tracking well with the South East Asian region making up in excess of 30 percent of sales to date. In addition, sales into the Middle East are expected to increase during coming months as buyers look to cover their demand prior to the next harvest. Dry conditions in the European production regions are also expected to provide support for Australian wheat.

The next Distribution payment for CBH Grain's 2009-10 pools will be made during October 2010.

 

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05 JulyCBH Board opposes Extraordinary General Meeting resolution

Co-operative Bulk Handling Ltd, the holding company of the CBH Group, advises that it will soon give Notice of an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) following receipt of a valid requisition from the required number of shareholders.

CBH Group Chairman Neil Wandel said the requisition sought to convene an EGM to consider amendments to the Articles of Association which would change CBH's board composition and director election system.

Mr Wandel said the Board had considered the proposed resolution and would recommend to shareholders that they vote against it.

 "There is no one corporate governance model which suits all businesses," Mr Wandel said.

"The most appropriate for a co-operative will differ to that for a listed company. The Board has previously reviewed alternative models, including one similar to that now being proposed, and resolved not to proceed for numerous reasons.

"The Board is also currently undertaking a detailed review of its structure. Any further changes to the CBH Board should only be considered once the future structure of the CBH Group has been determined."

Mr Wandel said a formal Notice of the EGM would be mailed to shareholders in the next two weeks. The Notice would include full details of the resolution to amend the Articles, the time, date and location of the EGM, and a proxy voting form.

The amendments would change the Board from 12 Directors, comprising nine grower Directors and up to three Board-appointed directors with special skills, to a Board of between seven and nine directors, comprising four grower directors, three board-appointed directors with special skills and up to two executive directors. The amendments would also change the existing five-district election system to a State-wide voting system.

"Detailed reasons for the Board's views will be in the Notice of meeting," Mr Wandel said.  

"They include that grower representation on the Board is important to growers, that critical grower communication would be more difficult with fewer grower directors, and that a State-wide election would result in considerably higher costs for candidates and require many shareholders to vote for candidates they do not know. It is acknowledged that Directors must represent all shareholders but it is also important to have Directors who are familiar with different issues in different regions."

 Mr Wandel noted that the Board recommended shareholders vote in favour of the second resolution to be put to the EGM: the ratification of David Willis as a director. The Articles require a new Board-appointed director to be ratified by shareholders at the next general meeting.

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05 JulyCBH supports Grain Grower of the Year Award

The CBH Group has joined Kondinin Group and ABC Rural in the search for Australia's most innovative and professional grain grower as part of the Australian Farmer of the Year Awards.

Nomination's for the Australian Farmer of the Year Awards opened Thursday, 1 July 2010 and contain the following eight Award categories:

-          Farmer of the Year

-          Young Farmer of the Year

-          Farm Industry Leader of the Year

-          Future-focused Farmer of the Year

-          Biosecurity Farmer of the Year

-          Diversification Farmer of the Year

-          Wool Producer of the Year; and

-          Grain Grower of the Year

The CBH Group is hosting the Grain Grower of the Year Award. This Award acknowledges those growers that demonstrate a highly professional, innovative and sustainable approach to grain production, are focused on the future sustainability of their farming enterprise and contribute to the advancement of the grain industry.

CBH Group Chief Executive Officer, Dr Andrew Crane said the Australian Farmer of the Year Awards are an ideal opportunity for CBH to recognise growers who are dedicated to operating efficient and successful farms.

"The Awards pay tribute to those growers who are working tirelessly not only to improve their own operations, but to strengthen the industry as a whole," Dr Crane said.

"Agriculture thrives from progressive and innovative farmers and it's important that we recognise and celebrate their valuable contribution.  

"We are proud to host the Grain Grower of the Year Award and it reflects our long-standing commitment to Australian grain growers."

Grain growers are encouraged to nominate themselves, or someone they think worthy, for this major Award. Nominations close Wednesday, 18 August, 2010 and nomination forms are available by clicking here or at www.kondinin.com.au/events. Award winners will be announced at a gala dinner on Tuesday, 21 September in Sydney.

The CBH Group is among a host of high-level supporters of the Australian Farmer of the Year Awards including the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, Rabobank, Agrimaster, Landmark, Animal Health Australia and Plant Health Australia. More information on the Awards is available by clicking here.

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05 JulyCBH introduces changes to the Better Farm IQ program

After completion of the review of the Better Farm IQ program (BFIQ), the CBH Group has announced changes to the program which will take effect as of the 2011-12 harvest.

The changes include the removal of the 50 cents per tonne incentive for all deliveries of Quality Assured (QA) grain into the CBH system. In addition, the proposed $2.50 per tonne testing fee for deliveries of non-Quality Assured grain to QA sites will not be introduced.

Colin Tutt, General Manager CBH Operations said that while these changes will come as a disappointment to some QA growers, the CBH Group has taken feedback from a range of industry stakeholders regarding how on farm quality assurance can best serve the growers of Western Australia into the future.

"A significant number of growers have been telling us that they want the choice as to whether and when they adopt an on-farm Quality Assurance program," Mr Tutt said.

"In a deregulated environment it is less appropriate for CBH to implement a compulsory QA program, however, we know many growers are strong supporters of QA."

For the coming harvest, CBH will provide QA only sites provided there is sufficient grower support to do so. Similarly, QA segregations may be offered at selected sites if specifically requested by marketers and acquirers.

Mr Tutt said another common response was that while on-farm QA is good for the Western Australian grain industry, it is unreasonable that it is funded solely by CBH. 

"Despite these changes, I want to be clear that the CBH Group remains committed to Quality Assurance and to protecting Western Australia's reputation as producers of high quality grain," Mr Tutt said.

"We will continue to support Quality Assured growers by providing on-farm assistance and audits, and we will continue to offer all growers training for the program.

"As part of the changes to the program, BFIQ will be consolidated under one area within CBH Operations and will be known as CBH Quality Assurance."

Mr Tutt said the CBH Group was called to review the program given that it comes at a significant cost to the business. Factoring in operating costs and incentives, the program costs the CBH Group around $4 million annually.

"Introducing these changes to the BFIQ program is one of the many ways the CBH Group is evolving in order to ensure we remain efficient and cost-effective for growers in this highly competitive environment," Mr Tutt said.

"We will be developing a range of new initiatives to ensure that the Quality Assurance program can deliver value to WA growers and their customers. 

Growers wanting more information on the changes to the Better Farm IQ program should contact the Grower Service Centre on 1800 199 083 or click here to view the Frequently Asked Questions on the CBH website.

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June

28 JuneCBH Group rail tender closes

The CBH Group's drive to deliver more rail freight value for growers is on track following a healthy response to the tender CBH has underway for the provision of grain rail freight services in Western Australia.

Chief Executive Officer, Dr Andrew Crane, said an encouraging number of proposals had been lodged by rail providers from Australia and around the world by the tender closing date, Friday, 25 June.

"The response endorses our decision to put our substantial grain freight task out to the market for the first time," Dr Crane said.

 "We believe it is an attractive contract because of the size of the task and the opportunities for improvement including in scheduling, labour arrangements and rolling stock technologies."

Dr Crane said CBH would now spend the amount of time required to ensure all proposals were evaluated thoroughly against criteria which aimed to deliver maximum value to growers.

"This process will respect the amount of work which clearly has gone into these proposals and the complexity of comparing the different models and how they might be implemented," Dr Crane said.

"We want to have a new solution in place as soon as possible.  However, we will take the time to get it right.  We remain absolutely committed to developing a long term, sustainable solution for rail freight in Western Australia and this tender is one of the critical elements in achieving that goal."

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28 JuneACCC to review Grain Express

The CBH Group will again have the opportunity to highlight the benefits of Grain Express following the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's (ACCC) decision to review the exclusive dealing notification for the grain logistics arrangement.

CBH Group Chief Executive Officer, Dr Andrew Crane said he was confident the review would confirm Grain Express provided a net benefit to the Western Australian grain industry and did not result in a substantial lessening of competition.

"Grain Express is a logistics co-ordination model that is focussed entirely on getting the right grain to port at the right time in the most efficient way possible," he said.

"When Grain Express was authorised in 2008, the deregulation of wheat exports and the entry into the market of multiple buyers threatened to cause severe disruption to grain storage, handling and transport in Western Australia. This threat remains if multiple buyers request to access and transport individual parcels of grain stock received at our 190-plus country receival sites.

"By allowing CBH to manage the inland transport of all grain delivered into our network, Grain Express results in grain being moved to port in a way which maximises the efficiency of the logistics system, minimises use of fumigants required to protect grain against insects, gives growers more time to make marketing decisions and gives CBH the volume certainty needed to purchase the best value rail and road freight services.

"It also lowers the barriers to entry for marketers in WA by allowing them to buy the grain they require from growers in any location, knowing CBH will outturn grain meeting the same receival standards at their chosen port, giving growers the benefit of more marketing options for their grain as well."

Dr Crane said the shipping congestion which occurred in WA last year would have been much worse if Grain Express had not been in place to maximise the transport resources available.

"CBH has since made major enhancements to Grain Express including introducing port capacity auctions which give exporters certainty and allocate shipping slots on a fair and transparent basis," he said.

"Grain Express does not discourage alternate supply chains emerging. Competitors are free to use CBH's Direct to Port service or bypass CBH port facilities altogether if we do not perform or provide a commercially competitive offer.

"As a grower owned and controlled co-operative, we are also unique in the grain industry in existing to maximise value for our members, the growers of Western Australia.

"It is noteworthy that, for the first time, growers were recently rebated the entire surplus collected from them to pay harvest freight - a total of around $8 million for the 2008-09 season. This was a direct result of Grain Express and the transparency it brought to freight costs - providing a benefit for growers for the first time."

Below is a more detailed summary of the benefits of Grain Express, as recently provided to the Productivity Commission.

Achievements of Grain Express:

  • CBH held its average charge per tonne steady in 2009-10 notwithstanding labour, energy and materials cost increases
  • 91% of grain was sold online by growers using LoadNet in 2008-09
  • Streamlining of grower receival process, including the significant drop in the number of load changes required post delivery. From the 2007-08 harvest, before Grain Express, the number of load changes has dropped from 17% to 10% with a major factor in that being reduced load errors
  • For the first time, a freight rebate was paid this year to growers for surplus freight collected from them - $8 million for the 2008-09 season
  • More than 6mt of grain were shipped from October to the end of April in each of 2008-09 and 2009-10; we estimate around half of that would have been shipped in 2008-09 without Grain Express
  • Grain Express provides the volumes to make rail transport possible where it is competitive - in 2009-10 there has been an increase from 50% to 64% in the proportion of grain moved by rail.
  • Open bulkheads, a riskier and costlier form of storage, have been cleared of grain 10% faster
  • Intra-silo movements costs dropped 44% in the year to 31 March 2009 and a further 20% in the year to 31 March 2010
  • Stacks have been cleared and closed more quickly - 32% of stacks were open on 31 March 2010 compared with 67% at 31 March 2008
  • Fewer sites needed to be open to achieve the same shipping tonnage e.g Albany shipping increased 24% with 8% less sites open.
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25 JuneCBH grower meetings 2010

The CBH Group recognises that there are few things more important to growers than generating more value from their business. CBH is currently working on a range of key initiatives to create more value for growers and details will be discussed at a series of grower meetings that will be held across the Western Australian wheatbelt in July.

The grower meetings will kick off in Miling on Monday, 19 July 2010 and topics that will be covered at the meetings include:

  • Grower weighted averaging
  • On-farm sampling
  • Quality Assurance
  • The future of the rail network
  • Existing and emerging markets for WA wheat and barley
  • Customer feedback on WA grain
  • The ways in which WA wheat and barley is used in the marketplace

Growers will also have the chance to do free noodle, bread and beer tastings highlighting the transformation of grain as it moves from paddock to plate.

 Details of the meetings can be found by clicking here

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23 JuneCBH Group Grower Members to get DailyGrain service for free

DailyGrain and the CBH Group have announced that all CBH Group Grower Members will have the opportunity to take out a free annual membership to a new DailyGrain service, DailyGrain Intro.

The DailyGrain Intro offers CBH Group members access to the MyPrices and MyMarketing sections of the DailyGrain website, as well as a weekly top five prices email and SMS report.

CBH Group Chief Executive Officer, Dr Andrew Crane said the CBH Group first acquired a 50 per cent stake in DailyGrain during 2009 with the aim of providing further value to grain growers in a deregulated environment.

"As a grower-owned business, the CBH Group is continually looking for ways to provide additional value to our Grower Members and this latest offer of free membership to DailyGrain Intro is simply another way in which we can do this," Dr Crane said.

"Through this membership, our Grower Members will have the ability to access the online price discovery services of DailyGrain to assist with their grain marketing throughout the year.

"The CBH Group's LoadNet® system has already established itself as an invaluable tool for growers and we wanted to give all of our members the ability to experience the benefit of having DailyGrain as an additional online tool to further help them manage their grain business."

Gavin Bignell, DailyGrain General Manager said that while there has been a strong takeup of DailyGrain since its inception during 2008, there were a large number of grain growers yet to experience the benefits DailyGrain can provide.

"DailyGrain Intro is a way that CBH can provide its members with a feel for the complete DailyGrain package," Mr Bignell said.

"As part of the agreement, CBH has also negotiated a reduced cost for the full DailyGrain membership at $350 plus GST for all CBH Group members.

"Full DailyGrain members enjoy a range of additional services, including a daily SMS and email, access to individual stock information through MyLoadNet and the ability to sell your grain online through MySales."

To take advantage of the free DailyGrain Intro membership or to upgrade to full DailyGrain membership, CBH Group members can visit the DailyGrain website at www.dailygrain.com.au and click on 'Join Now' or contact DailyGrain directly on 9435 1144.

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16 JuneCBH trials grower weighted averaging for wheat

The CBH Group has announced that it will be trialling a new system this harvest called Quality Optimisation which will give growers the ability to optimise the quality of their grain via LoadNet®.

This year's trial is for wheat deliveries only and will be run exclusively at the Salmon Gums and Grass Patch receival sites in the Esperance Zone, and the Northampton, Yuna and Binnu receival sites in the Geraldton Zone.

General Manager Operations, Colin Tutt said growers who deliver to these sites have been invited to participate in the trial.

"Growers have been asking for a grower weighted averaging system for some time now," Mr Tutt said.

"The aim of this trial is to test the proposed quality system to ensure it can deliver the benefits growers are looking for while also ensuring that the logistics can be effectively managed without eroding any value.

"It is also important that we maintain the quality requirements of our international customers and deliver them more value in the process.

"It is challenging but it is about both growers and customers sharing the benefits of the changes proposed in the trial."

Mr Tutt said Quality Optimisation is a system designed to provide more flexibility and control over grain quality by allowing growers to virtually blend loads of wheat to form optimised lots of better grades to sell through LoadNet®.

"Trial sites will have a different set of wheat grades to reflect the new outturn standards and binning lines being tested," he said.

 "The trial sites were chosen as they are large wheat growing areas which are geographically isolated. This makes them a natural fit for a discrete trial and means the results will be more reflective of normal harvest behaviour.

"Results of the trial will be reported in early 2011 and a decision will then be made on whether or not CBH will introduce the system on a wider scale throughout the State for the 2011-12 harvest.

"CBH Operations will be providing training for those growers participating in the trial in August and we'll be working with marketers over the coming months to ensure they fully understand how the Quality Optimisation trial will work."

Mr Tutt said all growers wanting to know more about Quality Optimisation should attend one of the upcoming CBH grower meetings being held across the State in July and August.

Alternatively, growers looking for more information on Quality Optimisation should contact the CBH Group Service Centre on 1800 199 083 or their local Zone Quality Manager. More information is also available by clicking here

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16 JuneCBH Grain closes No.2 Feed Barley Pool

CBH Grain has closed its 2009-10 No.2 Feed Barley Pool for South Australian growers, effective as at 9am yesterday 15 June 2010.

The pool closed with an estimated FOB pool return of $170 per tonne for Feed 1 barley and $165 per tonne for Feed 2 barley. The pool was closed to protect the equity for existing pool participants. The price outlook for feed barley is bearish as the Black Sea new crop continues to be the world's cheapest source of feed barley, largely influenced by the weaker Euro.

The majority of the 2009-10 Australian barley crop has now been marketed and CBH Grain is currently working on its product offerings for the upcoming 2010-11 season.

For more information, contact your local CBH Grain Regional Manager.

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08 JuneCBH calls for 2010-11 crop estimates

The CBH Group is calling on all Western Australian grain growers to complete their crop estimate forms for the 2010-11 season.

General Manager CBH Operations, Colin Tutt said crop estimates play a vital role in harvest planning for CBH.

"We encourage growers to complete crop estimate forms as soon as they wind up their seeding programs," Mr Tutt said.

"We understand this will be later for some growers this year, given it's been a frustrating start to seeding due to the lack of opening rains for many areas of the State.

"Crop estimates provide us with the information we need to effectively match the grain receival services we provide at harvest with the various grain types and grades likely to be delivered.

"It also allows us to provide more timely and cost effective storage, outturn and transport services helping us with our objective to ensure the grain supply chain remains efficient for all.

"Without knowing what is being grown in each area, it is difficult for us to ensure we have the right services at local sites."

Growers who complete their crop estimates online before Friday, 9 July 2010 will be in the running to win a trip for two to Bali, including accommodation at a five-star resort for five nights.

Mr Tutt said crop estimate forms can be completed online through LoadNet® or by contacting the CBH Group Grower Service Centre.

 "It's an easy, five minute process through LoadNet," he said.

 "Growers simply need to log onto LoadNet, select the Estimates on the green toolbar and then enter the hectares and varieties that they either have already planted or they intend to plant this season.

"They will also need to nominate their intended or preferred receival point for deliveries this harvest and then click Submit.

"The information provided is used only by CBH Operations to plan receival site services. This information stays with CBH Operations and is not passed on to any other third party, including CBH Grain."

Those growers who don't have access to LoadNet®, need further information or require assistance with submitting their crop estimate forms, should call the CBH Group Grower Service Centre on 1800 199 083. For terms and conditions of the competition please click here

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04 JuneCBH Group 2010 photo competition open for entries

The CBH Group's annual photographic competition opened today, marking the 10th year that the competition has been visually profiling life on the land for Australian grain growers.

The theme this year is Up for the Challenge and entrants need to visually depict life in WA's grainbelt by capturing the triumphs and challenges of living on the land; the growth of the ever changing grains industry; and the spirit of partnership and the community in working together for the future.

The competition is divided into six categories:

-          CBH Group grower-shareholders and their immediate families (8 winners)

-          Children, up to and including 15 years of age (2 winners)

-          CBH Group Staff (2 winners)

-          Rural Community Residents (4 winners)

-          Eastern States Grain Growers (4 winners)

The competition will again be open to grain growers in Eastern Australia this year and an overall winner will be selected from the six categories mentioned above.

As the continued major sponsor of the competition for five years running, the Countryman newspaper will host the People's Choice Award, whereby one winner will be selected by the public by voting online at www.countryman.com.au

This year's photo competition is strongly supported by more than a dozen sponsors and prizes include selected cash prizes, an accommodation voucher for the Esplanade River Suites in South Perth and tickets to a Western Australian Football League football match.

Entries can be submitted online through the CBH Group's website www.cbh.com.au or by clicking here. Alternatively, you can post your entry along with a completed entry form to 'Up for the Challenge' CBH Group photo competition, GPO Box L886, WA 6842.

Entries close at 5pm on Friday, 6 August 2010 so start snapping and get your entry in today.

For more information on the CBH Group's 2010 Photographic Competition, please contact Brianne James, Public Relations Advisor, CBH Group on (08) 9237 9818 or click here

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04 JuneCBH Grain photo competition now open

CBH Grain is again hosting their annual photographic competition in Eastern Australia, offering rural photographers the chance to win some fantastic prizes and to see their work on display at selected Field Days and industry events in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland.

The theme of this year's competition is Up for the Challenge and entrants need to visually depict life in the grainbelt by capturing the triumphs and challenges of living on the land; the growth of the ever changing grains industry; and the spirit of partnership and the community in working together for the future.

Entrants from Eastern Australia can enter the photos in three categories:

-          Grain Growers (includes grain growers in South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland - 4 winners)

-          Children, up to and including 15 years of age (2 winners)

-          CBH Group Staff (2 winners)

CBH Grain's Manager Eastern Australia, Chris Ayers said this is the second year CBH Grain has hosted the photographic competition in Eastern Australia.

"It's initiatives like this that directly link grain growers throughout Australia and bring rural communities together," Mr Ayers said.

"People living in rural communities have a strong connection. They stand by each other through tough seasons and together they adapt to the many challenges of our ever-changing industry.

"The CBH Grain photo competition is about visually capturing that community spirit."

CBH Grain is calling for entries from all grain growers, rural residents and CBH staff throughout South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

The CBH Group has been running the photo competition in Western Australia for ten years and it continues to generate a lot of support from industry sponsors. The prizes up for grabs include an annual subscription to the Kondinin Group's Farming Ahead magazine and several cash prizes.

Entries can be submitted online through the CBH Group's website at www.cbh.com.au. or by clicking here Alternatively, you can post your entry along with a completed entry form to 'Up for the Challenge' CBH Group photo competition, GPO Box L886, WA 6842. Entries close at 5pm on Friday, 6 August 2010 so start snapping and get your entry in today.

For more information on the CBH Group's 2010 Photographic Competition, please contact Brianne James, Public Relations Advisor, CBH Group on (08) 9237 9818 or click here

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01 JuneCBH Grain releases new Hectare Advantage Pool

CBH Grain has today released a new Hectare Advantage Pool for Western Australian wheat and barley growers for the 2010-2011 season, marking the first time a hectare-based product has been offered by CBH Grain.

The release of this hectare-based pool comes after growers have been indicating for some time that they would like an option to market their grain by committing hectares rather than tonnes in the early stages of the season.

CBH Grain Accumulations Manager, Grant Thompson said the CBH Grain Hectare Advantage Pool has been designed to provide growers with the right level of balance between production and price risk while providing price protection throughout the growing season.

"The Hectare Advantage Pool is designed for those wheat and barley growers who want to focus on producing their crop without needing to watch the markets every day," Mr Thompson said.

"The objective of the Hectare Advantage Pool is to assist growers in managing their production risk through a structured hedge profile that provides increasing price protection as yields become more certain.

While it won't be suitable for all growers, the Hectare Advantage Pool suits those wanting flexibility and the advantage of not having to worry about variability in their production. This product allows growers to deliver what they grow without the stringent tolerances around tonnes."

Mr Thompson said the Hectare Advantage Pool will operate as a unique multigrade pool for both wheat and barley, running separately to CBH Grain's existing Harvest Pools.

"Both the barley and wheat pools will have limited availability," he said.

"Growers wishing to participate need to register their interest with their local CBH Grain Regional Manager by Monday, 14 June, 2010. This will initiate the next phase where growers will be required to submit an Expression of Interest Form to CBH Grain to be considered for a contract this season.

"As the trusted business partner of Western Australian growers for more than 85 years, our focus remains on creating greater value for growers and their farm businesses and we are continually looking at ways in which to do this.

"We are always listening to grower feedback and, as demonstrated by the release of this hectare-based pool, we will continue to provide innovative products to different segments in the market going forward."

To find out more about CBH Grain's new Hectare Advantage Pool, or to register their interest, growers can contact their local CBH Grain Regional Manager.

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May

27 MayCBH distributes $8 million in freight rebate

The CBH Group is pleased to announce that for the first time, a freight rebate will be distributed to more than 5,000 Western Australian grain growers who paid freight to CBH Operations for the 2008-09 season. The bulk of these payments was delivered to growers' bank accounts, or offset against outstanding CBH Operations debts, today, Thursday, 27 May 2010.

The total surplus collected to pay freight for the season was around $8 million, including interest earned by the Freight Pool, which equates to around 4.25 percent of the amount of freight each grower was invoiced by CBH Operations during the 2008-09 season.

General Manager CBH Operations, Colin Tutt said this is the first time growers have received a rebate for freight and was possible because of Grain Express.

"It is one of the tangible benefits resulting from the introduction of the CBH Group's Grain Express system whereby, from the 2008-09 season, the CBH Group took control over freight movements between its sites and developed transport contracts for road and rail," Mr Tutt said.

"Rather than the traditional deduction from marketer payments, freight was charged directly to growers by the CBH Group's Freight Pool. This provides a more transparent representation of the freight rate and we are able to give the surplus back to growers in the form of a rebate.

Mr Tutt said the surplus was intended to help avoid potential big increases in freight charges per tonne in poor years, where growers and CBH Operations are still required to pay some fixed costs irrespective of the tonnages moved.

"CBH Operations has since sourced insurance to help cover fixed costs in poor crop years which is why we have returned the surplus to growers who were invoiced freight," he said.

"For the 2009-10 season, freight rates were estimated before harvest and adjusted in February when CBH Operations had more certainty of the actual tonnage to be transported. A decision will be made after audits of the Freight Pool later this year as to whether similar reimbursements will take place."

For more information on the 2008-09 freight rebate, growers can contact the CBH Group Grower Service Centre on 1800 199 083. Information is also available on the CBH Group's website www.cbh.com.au or click here

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25 MayCBH Board considers grower feedback on structure

After extensive consultation with more than 1,000 of its grower shareholders, the CBH Group has completed the first phase of its investigation into the best structure for its future. The findings were presented to the Board at a special meeting on Wednesday, 12 May 2010.

The first phase commenced in January after the Board commissioned management to undertake an extensive process to ensure the most appropriate structure was in place to enable the 77-year-old co-operative to capture and deliver more direct value to its grower members into the future.

The decision by the Board to take a closer look at structure was driven by significant industry changes and increased grower support for change.

In summary, the key findings in the first phase show that most grower shareholders:

  • Want potential models to retain Co-operative principles and be grower-owned
  • Want a structure that ensures the CBH Group can continue to provide value to growers sustainably.
  • Value their grain storage and handling network as world-class and believe any structural model considered should ensure storage and handling remains grower owned and controlled.
  • Would prefer CBH's marketing arm CBH Grain to remain grower owned
  • Want to see more tangible and transparent value returned to members from CBH's strategic investments in related downstream businesses including the potential for direct financial ownership.
  • Recognise that patronage allows CBH to survive and prosper and therefore support incentives to reward patronage and continued loyalty.
  • Want the ability to continue to elect Grower Directors to ensure their voice is heard.
  • Wish to be kept informed on progress throughout all phases of the investigation into structure.

CBH Group Chairman, Neil Wandel said the priorities of grower members were central to a successful outcome and the findings from the extensive consultation with members would now be used to shape and compare alternative models.  

"The findings include clear messages that our growers want CBH to retain co-operative principles and they want to retain grower control of the storage and handling side of the business," Mr Wandel said.

"However, growers are also looking for more information on the issues facing us in this changing environment and for some direction on the different ways that value can be returned to them.

"As instructed by the Board, Management will now begin to assess a range of models that are consistent with these findings, within the required strategic, legal, taxation and financial frameworks.

"While most members clearly want any future structure to retain Co-operative principles, there are many options to explore that may enhance the current structure and enable us to more tangibly deliver value to members."

Mr Wandel said the Board will keep growers fully informed on progress and is working to present a short list of potential models to growers at the Chairman / CEO meetings in September.

[Close]
17 MayCBH Grain and Plum Grove open 2010-11 Managed Pool

CBH Grain and Plum Grove have announced that last year's top performing wheat pool, the Managed Pool, will be opening for the 2010-11 season on Monday, 17 May 2010.

Tony Smith, Senior Pool Manager and Trader at Plum Grove notes that the Managed Pool had an excellent track record against cash contracts taken out at the same time of the year:

"Last year's Pool is around $30 per tonne better off than equivalent harvest time pools and cash, which is a great result for our growers," Mr Smith said.

"The hedging profile of the Managed Pool combined with the active management that we provide has resulted in the Managed Pool being the top performing pool in 3 of the last 6 years - 2004-05, 2005-06 and 2009-10. It's a great track record and it's because the Pool has a marketing plan that is professionally implemented by grain traders with over 10 years of experience."

CBH Grain Trading Manager for Wheat, Chris Brown, adds that the 2010-11 Managed Pool is a great opportunity for growers to commence their marketing program for the new season.

"It's one thing to take commitments from growers that they will deliver grain at harvest time - it's an entirely different thing to then hedged these early committed tonnes and not hedging can have a serious impact on your returns," Mr Brown said.

"The Managed Pool, as the name suggests, does help manage your price risk. The case for a grower using the Managed Pool long term as part of their yearly marketing strategy is very compelling, not only in a pure returns sense but also in giving growers greater peace of mind."

Tony Smith from Plum Grove adds that the Managed Pool fits in well with growers who had already contracted into the ProtectionPlus Pool this season, as it would allow them to capture a different aspect of the market. In effect, the products perfectly complemented each other. He added that it was common for growers who used one product to use the other for that reason.

The Managed Pool will be open from Monday, 17 May 2010 for two weeks until the end of May 2010 unless the tonnage limit is reached earlier. Contracting may be done through CBH Grain Regional Managers, the CBH Grower Service Centre or Plum Grove.

The Managed Pool is a joint initiative between CBH Grain and Plum Grove. It is a traditional seeding time contract pool that aims for a minimum level of price security, while allowing for upside during the year.

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10 MayCBH Group begins its harvest recruitment

The CBH Group has begun its annual search for up to 1,800 casual employees to work the upcoming Western Australian (WA) grain harvest. The positions available include Receival Point Operators, Grain Samplers and Weighbridge Officers - all of which assist with grain receivals during harvest at around 197 sites across the State.

CBH Operations Human Resource Advisor, Kelly McKenzie said casual harvest work commences at the start of the season in October. However, because of the size of the task, the recruitment process starts in May.

"On average, the CBH Group employs between 1,600 and 1,800 casuals for harvest," Ms McKenzie said.

"However, the number of positions available and length of employment varies according to the size of the crop and seasonal conditions.

"We start recruiting well in advance of harvest to ensure we select the most appropriate team for the season and to ensure all employees have successfully completed our safety and role specific training programs.

"Whether you're a student looking to earn good money during the summer break, a traveller wanting to experience life in the Western Australian wheatbelt or even a retiree looking to keep yourself active - we're encouraging everyone to apply.

"Many of our casual employees return year after year to work the harvest. It is hard work at times but it can also be very rewarding. The hourly rates are competitive and CBH provides basic accommodation at most sites."

The CBH Group is a major employer in Western Australia and has around 1,000 permanent and contract employees. With diverse operations extending along the value chain from grain storage and handling, to grain marketing, shipping and processing, the CBH Group offers a range of employment opportunities in addition to seasonal recruitment. 

CBH Operations General Manager, Colin Tutt began working as a harvest casual with the CBH Group in 1972 on the South Kumminin site. Since then Mr Tutt has overseen the movement of around 160 million tonnes of grain in the CBH system, and 38 years on, he looks back with fond memories of his time on the bins.

"Working as a casual over harvest gave me the hands-on experience of a grower's life and the enormous risks he is expected to manage on the land," Mr Tutt said.

"It taught me a lot about the grains industry, in particular how important WA grain is to the world's food chain, and it gave me the passion I have today to assist growers to get their grain in as quickly and as efficiently as possible."

To find out more about employment opportunities available with the CBH Group click here

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April

29 AprilCBH Grain delivers 2009-10 lupin and oats payment

CBH Grain has delivered the first distribution payment to those growers who participated in CBH Grain's 2009-10 lupin and oat pools and opted for the Distribution, Harvest or Flexi Loan payment methods.

The payment was deposited into participating growers' bank accounts, or against outstanding loan accounts, on Friday, 23 April 2010.

The total payment amount delivered, including credits to growers, was $9 million, including credits to grower loan accounts.

For more information on CBH Grain's 2009-10 pool payments, please contact the CBH Group Grower Service Centre on 1800 199 083 or your local CBH Grain Regional Manager.

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23 AprilCBH Group sets minimum truck tailgate standards for safety

The CBH Group has announced that from the 2010-11 harvest onwards, employees will open truck tailgates provided they meet minimum safety standards set by the CBH Group.

Tailgates that don't meet the minimum standards will be required to be opened by the driver of the vehicle. The Receival Point Operator (RPO) will also retain the ultimate discretion not to open a tailgate if they believe it is unsafe to do so.

The minimum standards for tailgates focus on the tailgate locking mechanisms. The key standards include ensuring pressure bars are no longer than 200mm in length, that release mechanisms are operated from the side of the trailer away from the impact zone, that release levers are designed so there are no pinch points and ring locks must be easily removable at no risk to employees. In addition, air release push buttons or alternative automated systems must be operated from the side of the trailer only. A full list of the minimum standards for tailgates can be found online by clicking here or by contacting the Grower Service Centre on 1800 199 083.

CBH Operations Manager, Max Johnson urged growers and transporters to read the minimum standards for tailgates and assess their vehicles accordingly prior to harvest. He said CBH employees were available to assist with the assessment.

"By introducing the minimum standards, our aim is to provide consistency for the industry and to help our employees be safe when opening tailgates at harvest," Mr Johnson said.

"After reading the standards, if growers and transporters want further advice on their vehicle's tailgate, they should contact their local CBH Group Area Manager who would be happy to arrange an inspection of the vehicle in the lead up to harvest.

"Unsafe tailgates have caused serious injuries to our employees, including broken bones, lacerations and severe bruising. Our aim is to eliminate all injuries and ensure our employees, and all those who visit a CBH site, return home safely."

The minimum standards for tailgates come after the CBH Group stopped employees from opening tailgates last December after an unacceptable series of injuries. Since then, the CBH Group has been working with growers, transporters, trailer manufacturers and other key industry representatives to develop minimum standards for tailgates so that efficiencies on site can be maintained while also ensuring employees are not at risk of injury from unsafe tailgates.

Mr Johnson acknowledged the co-operation shown by growers last harvest.

"We understand that stopping employees opening tailgates was a significant change in operations on site, "he said.

"I thank all growers and transporters for their co-operation and for assisting our employees when opening and closing tailgates."

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20 AprilCBH Grain delivers payment for 2009-10 WA barley & canola pools

CBH Grain has delivered the first distribution payment to those growers who participated in CBH Grain's 2009-10 barley and canola pools and opted for the Distribution, Harvest or Flexi Loan payment methods.

The payment is worth more than $36 million for Western Australian growers and was deposited into participating growers' bank accounts or against outstanding loan accounts on Friday, 16 April 2010.

CBH Grain's Accumulations Manager, Grant Thompson said this marks the first distribution payment for coarse grain pools since CBH Grain introduced the five payment options for all Harvest Pools last season.

"Previously the five payment options were only available for our wheat pools," Mr Thompson said.

"However, last year we introduced it for all grains to assist growers in meeting the financial needs of their business."

The payment for barley and canola includes a first distribution payment of $64.10 per tonne for deliveries of Baudin 1 to the No.1 Harvest Pool for Barley and a payment of $340.03 per tonne for deliveries to the No.1 Harvest Pool for Canola.

Mr Thompson said this payment comes within a week of CBH Grain delivering more than $115 million in payments, including credits to grower loan accounts, to growers participating in CBH Grain's 2009-10 wheat pools.

"Both payments were delivered in line with the payment date estimated in CBH Grain's recently released Budget Guide for 2009-10 pool payments," he said.  

"The Budget Guide is an estimated timeline of anticipated 2009-10 pool payments along with forecast amounts for each payment and will be updated next month."

For more information on CBH Grain's 2009-10 pool payments, growers should contact the CBH Group Grower Service Centre on 1800 199 083 or their local CBH Grain Regional Manager.

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20 AprilCBH Grain delivers on 2009-10 EA barley pools

CBH Grain has delivered the first distribution payment to those growers who participated in CBH Grain's 2009-10 Harvest Pool for Barley. The payment was deposited into participating growers' bank accounts or against outstanding loan accounts on Friday, 16 April 2010.

This payment of $45.02 per tonne is for deliveries into the No.1 Harvest Pool for Barley and it comes within a week of CBH Grain delivering a payment to all growers participating in CBH Grain's 2009-10 wheat pools.

CBH Grain's Manager Eastern Australia, Chris Ayers said last season's Harvest Pool for Barley performed well in its first year available to South Australian growers.

"Last season we extended our product offerings so that South Australian growers had the opportunity to participate in our Harvest Pool for Barley," Mr Ayers said.

"The pool's sales program is progressing well despite tough market conditions and the high Australian dollar. There continues to be solid demand for Australian barley despite cheaper supplies from the Black Sea and Europe region being available.

Mr Ayers said timely pool payments such as this demonstrate the cash-flow flexibility that pools provide.

This payment comes within a week of CBH Grain delivering the first distribution payment to those growers who participated in CBH Grain's 2009-10 Harvest Pool for Wheat and opted for the Distribution, Harvest or Flexi Loan payment methods. CBH Grain's No.2 Pool for Feed Barley remains open for South Australian growers seeking an alternative to the cash market.

For more information on CBH Grain's 2009-10 pool payments, growers should contact their local CBH Grain Regional Manager on 1800 107 759 or visit the CBH Grain website at www.cbh.com.au.

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14 AprilCBH Grain delivers on 2009-10 WA wheat pools

CBH Grain has delivered the first distribution payment to those growers who participated in CBH Grain's 2009-10 wheat pools and opted for the Distribution, Harvest or Flexi Loan payment methods. The payment was deposited into participating growers' bank accounts or against outstanding loan accounts on Friday, 9 April 2010.

CBH Grain's Accumulations Manager, Grant Thompson said the total payment amount paid out to growers or credited to grower loan accounts was around $115 million.

"This includes a first distribution payment of $50.37 per tonne, based on deliveries of APW2 grade to the 2009-10 No.1 Harvest Pool for Wheat," Mr Thompson said.

"Our sales program is progressing well with the South East Asian region making up to 30 percent of the sales to date and sales into the Middle East are expected to pick up over the next few months."

Mr Thompson said this payment was delivered in line with the payment date estimated in CBH Grain's recently released Budget Guide for 2009-10 pool payments.

"Our Budget Guide is an estimated timeline of anticipated 2009-10 pool payments along with forecast amounts for each payment," he said.

 "While the dates provided are only estimates, CBH Grain is committed to delivering timely payments in line with the Budget Guide so that pool participants have greater certainty of when they will be paid."

 According to the Budget Guide, the Deferred payment for all CBH Grain's 2009-10 pools is likely to be delivered in the first week of July, 2010. This is to be followed by the second distribution payment for 2009-10 wheat pools which is estimated to be delivered in the second week of July, 2010.

 he first distribution payment for 2009-10 wheat pools comes within weeks of CBH Grain finalising its 2008-09 wheat pools. 

 For more information on the first distribution payment for CBH Grain's 2009-10 pools or for current pool equities, please contact your local CBH Grain Regional Manager or phone the CBH Group Grower Service Centre on 1800 199 083.

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14 AprilCBH Grain delivers on 2009-10 EA wheat pools

CBH Grain has delivered the first distribution payment to those growers who participated in CBH Grain's 2009-10 Harvest Pool for Wheat and opted for the Distribution, Harvest or Flexi Loan payment methods. The payment was deposited into participating growers' bank accounts or against outstanding loan accounts on Friday, 9 April 2010.

CBH Grain's Manager Eastern Australia, Chris Ayers said this includes a first distribution payment of $56.40 per tonne for the SA Harvest Pool and $56.90 per tonne for the Victorian Harvest Pool based on deliveries of APW1 grade to the 2009-10 No.1 Harvest Pool for Wheat.

"Our export sales program is progressing well," Mr Ayers said.

"The South East Asian region is making up about 30 percent of the sales to date and sales into the Middle East are expected to pick up in the next few months.

"Our Harvest Pool for Wheat was well supported by South Australian growers during the 2009-10 season and it received strong interest in its first harvest open for Victorian growers."

Mr Ayers said that based on APW1 grade, the current Estimated Pool Return (EPR) for the South Australian Wheat Pool is $250 per tonne. The current EPR for the Victorian Wheat Pool is $252 per tonne.

For more information on the first distribution payment for CBH Grain's 2009-10 pools or for current pool equities, please contact your local CBH Grain Regional Manager on 1800 107 759 or visit www.cbh.com.au

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March

30 MarchCBH to link all business units under the one name

 The CBH Group is renaming its three core business units to more closely reflect it is an integrated business with a single purpose of uniquely linking growers to customers.

CBH Group Chairman, Neil Wandel made the announcement in his address to the CBH Group's 77th Annual General Meeting (AGM) held today in Perth.

The most significant change will be to the CBH Group's marketing arm Grain Pool, which will be renamed CBH Grain. Bulkwest Engineering, the specialist engineering business owned by CBH since 2001, will become CBH Engineering. Grain Operations, the storage and handling unit of the CBH Group, will undergo a minor change and be known as CBH Operations.

Mr Wandel said that aligning the business units under the CBH Group brand clarifies and reinforces that the CBH Group is one, integrated business focussed on creating value for growers beyond the farm-gate.

"Getting these businesses to work together more effectively and efficiently to create value for our growers is the key to our future," Mr Wandel said.

"We have been considering this rebrand for sometime and many growers and customers have indicated that aligning all business units under the CBH banner would be beneficial.  We're aiming to make it simpler and clearer for our growers and customers when they do business with us."

Mr Wandel also told the meeting that the Board was making good progress on its commitment to find out how shareholders wanted value returned to them and to use those findings to determine the best future structure for the CBH Group.

"The focus during the recent Director elections on the co-operative-versus-corporate debate does not negate the need for the investigation we are now doing - it reinforces it.

 "Structure has never been off our agenda and we are now several months in to a process we hope will get the best outcome for shareholders.

"To achieve a successful outcome - one which may ultimately require the support of at least 75% of you - we know your priorities must be central to all our considerations.

"This is a complex process - there are pros and cons in every structural option. However we hope to be in a position to discuss with our shareholders by September a preferred viable model, or models, which will maximise returning value to shareholders in the way they want it."

On the eve of his first anniversary as Chief Executive Officer for the CBH Group, Dr Andrew Crane told shareholders the CBH Group's financial performance had improved significantly in 2008-09. That included a near tripling in net profit after tax to $119 million, largely driven by the Western Australia's 2008 harvest being the third biggest on record at 12.3 million tonnes.

"It is very important in an organisation like ours that we look behind headline profits and consider where that money goes," he said.

"The unique nature of CBH means that all the profits we make are directed towards benefitting growers."

Dr Crane said the next challenge for shareholders would be to decide where they wanted to take their business in the future.

"Now more than ever, CBH Group is a unique player in the Australian grain industry," he said.

 "We are the only business that remains grower-controlled but which has also built valuable strategic assets along the grain supply chain.

"Our challenge now is to create our own compelling vision for success, one which both employees and growers are proud to be a part of.

"I look forward to working with the Board and growers to define our future place in the world and delivering on that vision."

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16 MarchCBH Group Director Elections finalised for 2010

The Western Australian Electoral Commission (WAEC) has today advised the CBH Group that the 2010 Director Elections in each of Districts 2, 3 and 4 have been finalised.

Mick McGinniss from Merredin has been elected as a Director in the District 2 election, Kevin Fuchsbichler of Bruce Rock has been re-elected as a Director in the District 3 election and Trevor Badger of Pingrup has been re-elected as a Director in the District 4 election.

CBH Group Chairman Neil Wandel congratulated Mr Fuchsbichler and Mr Badger on their re-appointment and welcomed Mr McGinniss on his return to the Board. Mr McGinniss previously served on the CBH Group Board from 2002 to 2009.

"I look forward to continuing to work with Mr Badger, Mr Fuchsbichler and Mr McGinniss in serving the interests of Western Australian grain growers," Mr Wandel said.

"The grains industry has undergone a lot of change since deregulation, bringing with it both challenges and opportunities. The Board is committed to working together to represent the best interests of our grower shareholders and ensuring the CBH Group remains viable and relevant in this changing industry environment."

Director Steve Tilbrook, whose three year term will expire at the AGM, did not renominate for this year's elections.Mr Wandel acknowledged the important role that Mr Tilbrook played during his time on the Board.  

"On behalf of the Board I take this opportunity to acknowledge the outstanding contribution made by Steve Tilbrook to the CBH Group and the industry as a whole during his 8 year tenure as Director.

"Mr Tilbrook played a significant role as a Director in the CBH-Grain Pool merger in 2002. His knowledge and experience during this time is testament to the CBH Group's strong position today. He brought a lot of passion and experience to the Board and no doubt he will continue to have an active interest in the future of the grains industry."

Mr Wandel said Mr McGinniss, Mr Badger and Mr Fuchbischler will join newly appointed Director David Willis in the formal declaration of Directors at the CBH Group's upcoming Annual General Meeting (AGM). The CBH Group announced the appointment of Mr Willis in December last year after Ken Palmer's announcement of his retirement as Director following 17 years on the Boards of the CBH Group and the Grain Pool of Western Australia.

 The AGM is open to all registered CBH Group grower shareholders and will be held on Tuesday 30 March, 2010 at the Astral Room Three, Burswood Convention Centre, Perth. The meeting will start at 3pm and shareholder registrations will open at 2pm.

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15 MarchGrain Pool closes No.1 Harvest Pool for Wheat and Malt Barley

Grain Pool has closed its 2009-10 Harvest Pool and Benchmark Pool for Wheat effective as at 10am today, Monday, 15 March 2010. Grain Pool's 2009-10 No.1 Harvest Pool for Malt Barley also closed at this time.

The 2009-10 Wheat and Malt Barley pools are the last No.1 pools to close from Grain Pool's suite of marketing options on offer last harvest. Grain Pool will not be opening a No.2 pool for these pools.

Grain Pool's Accumulations Manager, Grant Thompson said the pools were closed as the Pool Management Committee is comfortable with the volumes reached.

"Our wheat and barley pools were well supported by growers this harvest and we're happy with the progress of the sales program," Mr Thompson said.

The current Estimated Pool Return (EPR) for the 2009-10 Harvest Pool for Wheat based on APW2 grade is $246 per tonne. The current EPR for the 2009-10 Harvest Pool for Malt Barley is $240 per tonne based on deliveries of Baudin 1.

For a full list of the pool equities or for more information on Grain Pool's 2009-10 pools, please contact your local Grain Pool Regional Manager.  

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15 MarchCBH Grain closes 2009-10 wheat pool

CBH Grain has closed its 2009-10 Harvest Pool for Wheat, effective as at Friday, 12 March 2010. CBH Grain's 2009 -10 Harvest Pool for Wheat was available for South Australian and Victorian wheat growers last harvest.

CBH Grain's Manager Eastern Australia said the pool was closed as the Pool Management Committee is comfortable with volumes reached.

"We will continue to focus on protecting the pool equity with the aim to ensure we maximise returns for our pool participants," Mr Ayers said.

"Our Harvest Pool for Wheat was well supported by South Australian growers again this harvest and it received strong interest in its first harvest open for Victorian growers."

Mr Ayers said that based on the industry benchmark APW1 grade, the current Estimated Pool Return (EPR) for the South Australian Wheat Pool is $250 per tonne. The current EPR for the Victorian Wheat Pool is $252 per tonne.

For more information on CBH Grain's 2009-10 pools, please contact your local CBH Grain Regional Manager on 1800 107 759 or visit www.cbh.com.au.

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February

11 FebruaryGrain Pool Estimated Pool Return Update - 11 February 2010

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Grain Pool Update

2009-10 Pools

There are no changes to the Estimated Pool Returns (EPRs) for Grain Pool's 2009-10 pools this week. Since the last EPR Update Grain Pool has closed its 2009-10 No.1 Harvest Pools for Canola, Feed Barley and Lupins and opened a No.2 Pool for these grains. The No.1 Harvest Pool for Oats has also closed, however, a No.2 pool will not available for oats.

2008-09 Pools

Grain Pool's 2008-09 No.1 Harvest Pool for Oats has dropped $4 per tonne across all grades this week. This brings the current Estimated Pool Returns (EPRs) to $224 per tonne for Grade 1 oats, $214 per tonne for Wandering oats and $206 per tonne for Grade 2.

While all other EPRs for 2008-09 pools remain unchanged this week, Grain Pool has finalised its No.1 Harvest Pool for Lupins for the 2008-09 season. A final payment of $25.12 per tonne was delivered to participants on Wednesday, 3 February 2010 and the pool was finalised with an EPR of $290.12 per tonne.

*Please note: All EPRs are quoted as FOB. GST is exclusive of this price.

Growers are advised that Grain Pool pools can close at any time without notice.

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11 FebruaryCBH Grain Estimated Pool Return Update - 11 February 2010

Thursday, 11 February 2010

CBH Grain Update

2009-10 Pools

While there are no changes to the Estimated Pool Returns (EPRs) for CBH Grain's 2009-10 pools this week, CBH grain has opened a No.2 Feed Barley Pool after closing its South Australian No.1 Barley Pool on Friday, 22 January 2010. The EPRs for the No.2 Pool are now $170 per tonne for Feed 1 and $165 per tonne for Feed 2. The No.2 Pool for Feed Barley is not available for growers in the Thevenard port zone.

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05 FebruaryCBH Grain to open No.2 Feed Barley Pool

CBH Grain will open a No.2 Feed Barley Pool on Monday, 8 February 2010, offering South Australian growers an Estimated Pool Return (EPR) of $155 per tonne. The No.2 Pool is not available for growers in the Thevenard port zone. 

This comes after CBH Grain closed its No.1 Barley Pool on Friday 22 January, 2010 to protect the equity for existing pool participants. 

CBH Grain's Manager Eastern Australia, Chris Ayers said offering a No.2 Pool allows those growers who missed out on delivering tonnes into CBH Grain's No.1 Feed Barley Pool an alternative to the cash market. 

"We had strong support for our No.1 Pool this season, and in order to protect those growers who have committed tonnes into the pool, we needed to close the No.1 Pool," Mr Ayers said. 

"Unfortunately the outlook for feed barley continues to be bearish and international markets remain slow as the anticipated high global ending stocks add pressure to feed barley values. Saudi Arabia, the world's largest importer of feed, is sitting on historically high stock levels making exporting into the region highly competitive." 

Mr Ayers said other factors weighing on Australian feed barley prices include aggressive sales out of the Black Sea region and the continued strength in the Australian dollar. 

"Our Marketing and Trading team rigorously monitor activity and price movement in both the international and domestic marketplace," he said. 

"This is why we continuously review the position of our pools. Throughout harvest, we have been informing growers that pools can close at any time and without notice." 

Growers wishing to find out more information regarding CBH Grain's No.2 Feed Barley Pool should contact their local CBH Grain Regional Manager on 1800 107 759.

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04 FebruaryLocal grower wins CBH Grain Competition

Underbool grower Jennifer Stone is all smiles after receiving an Engel fridge as the winner of CBH Grain's 2009-10 free grower competition.

The Stone family, who live 6km south of Underbool, in the Victorian Mallee region, have been a part of the Underbool community since 1912.

Mrs Stone said she was delighted to be this year's winner of the annual CBH Grain grower competition.

"It was a great surprise to be drawn as the winner of CBH Grain's competition," Mrs Stone said.

"My new portable fridge will be fantastic when I go into Mildura to do my shopping as it is over an hour and a half each way."

Georgina Whiting, CBH Grain Regional Grain Manager for South East Australia delivered the prize to Mrs Stone at her property on Monday, 18 January 2010.

Miss Whiting said the grower competition has attracted a large interest from growers in the past four years it has been running.

"The competition is held annually and opens in March, in-line with our site at the Wimmera Machinery Field Day," she said.

"This year, by entering the competition, growers will have the opportunity to win $1,000 for their local school, sporting club or registered charity. It is organisations such as these that form the social fabric of rural communities and this is our way of supporting the community groups that support our growers."

Miss Whiting said this year's CBH Grain grower competition will open on Tuesday, 2 March and the winner will be drawn on Monday, 3 January 2011.

Growers can enter the competition by completing an entry form which will be available at the CBH Grain tent at the Wimmera Field Days. Alternatively growers can obtain a copy of the entry form by contacting the CBH Grain Grower Service Centre on 1800 107 759 after 2 March, 2010.

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03 FebruaryGrain Pool delivers final payment for 2008-09 lupin pool

Grain Pool has finalised its 2008-09 lupin pool after delivering a final payment of $25.12 per tonne today to all growers who participated in Grain Pool's 2008-09 Harvest Pool for Lupins.  

Grain Pool's Accumulations Manager, Grant Thompson said the payment was worth more than $7.5 million for Western Australian lupin growers.   

"We delivered an Estimated Pool Return (EPR) of $290.12 per tonne to growers participating in the 2008-09 lupin pool," Mr Thompson said.

"This falls within the Estimated Pool Return (EPR) Grain Pool released in early December during the 2008-09 season and despite severe fluctuations in exchange rates, ocean freight rates and international protein values, we successfully held the pool's equity at these levels throughout the life of the pool.

"This is another example of our commitment to providing growers realistic and competitive pool estimates - estimates which we genuinely believe we can deliver on."

The finalisation of the 2008-09 lupin pool comes within a day of Grain Pool announcing it had closed its No.1 Harvest Pool for Lupins for the 2009-10 season.

Mr Thompson said the pool was well supported and needed to close to protect the equity for participants.

"The pool was closed with an Estimated Pool Return (EPR) of $256 per tonne," he said.

"In order to protect this equity for growers who have already committed tonnes to the pool, we needed to close our 2009-10 Harvest Pool for Lupins.

Mr Thompson said the price outlook for lupins for 2010 is bearish but due to early sales and the tonnes committed by growers with the Early Contract Bonus, Grain Pool was able to take advantage of good market conditions prior to the recent price declines.

For more information on Grain Pool's pools, including current pool positions and payments, please contact your local Grain Pool Regional Manager.  

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02 FebruaryNominations are in for the CBH Group Director Elections 2010

Following the closure of nominations at 12noon today, 2 February, 2010 the Western Australian Electoral Commission (WAEC) has advised the CBH Group that there are 14 nominations for this year's Director Elections. Ballots will be held in each of the Electoral Districts 2, 3 and 4.

The nominations include current CBH Group Directors, Trevor Badger and Kevin Fuchsbichler, who are both standing again for re-election as their three-year terms as a Director expire at the CBH Group's Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 30 March, 2010. Mr Badger was elected by shareholders in the former Albany Election District and Mr Fuchsbichler was elected by shareholders in the former Kwinana Election District.

Director Steve Tilbrook, whose three year-term will also expire at this year's AGM, has not re-nominated for this year's Director Elections. Mr Tilbrook was previously elected by shareholders in the former Esperance Electoral District.

CBH Group shareholders are reminded that there have been some important changes to the Director Election process following amendments to the Articles of Association which were approved by shareholders in October, 2009. The most significant is that CBH Directors are now elected based on a five district model, rather than the previous four zone election system.

Directors can now have their main grain growing interests in any election District. A shareholder no longer needs to have their main grain growing interests in a District to stand for election in that District. However, only shareholders in that District can vote for a candidate standing in their District and a shareholder can only stand for election in one District.

In addition to the nominations submitted from current Directors Mr Fuchsbichler and Mr Badger, 12 candidates have put forward their nomination for this year's Director Elections. Please see below for a full list of the candidates and the District for which they have nominated (listed by surname in ballot paper draw order).

Nominations for District 2

CROOK, Andrew

McGINNISS, Mick

CLAUSON, Derek

McGILL, Gary Russell

Nominations for District 3

LYNCH, Donna

BUTCHER, Colin

FUCHSBICHLER, Kevin

HICKEY, Des

Nominations for District 4

RUNDLE, Peter

O'MEEHAN, Paul

BADGER, Trevor

ADAMS, David

WALLACE, Donald

DUNCAN, Andrew

A ballot will be held in each of Districts 2, 3 and 4 and CBH Group shareholders will elect one Director for each Electoral District. Ballot packs containing full voting information will be mailed to shareholders residing in Electoral Districts 2, 3 and 4 on Thursday, 18 February 2010. The poll will close at 10am on Tuesday, 16 March 2010 and the results will be announced following the counting of votes on the same day.

For further information regarding the CBH Group District Director Elections, please contact Wayne Nicholson, Returning Officer from the WAEC, on 9214 0448 or email wayne.nicholson@waec.wa.gov.au.

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01 FebruaryGrain Pool closes 2009-10 Lupin Pool

Grain Pool has closed its No.1 Harvest Pool for Lupins, effective 5pm Friday, 29 January 2010. A No.2 pool will open for lupins this week.

Grain Pool's Accumulations Manager, Grant Thompson said the pool was closed in order to protect the equity for existing pool participants.

"The No.1 Lupin Pool was well supported by growers this season," Mr Thompson said.

"The pool was closed with an Estimated Pool Return (EPR) of $256 per tonne and, in order to protect this equity for growers who have already committed tonnes, we needed to close the No.1 Harvest Pool for Lupins.

"Grain Pool has been informing growers that in the deregulated grain marketing environment pools can close at any time and without notice. This is why we offered Guaranteed Access Contracts for all our Harvest Pools this season."

Mr Thompson said the price outlook for lupins is bearish but due to early sales and the tonnes committed by growers with the Early Contract Bonus, Grain Pool was able to take advantage of good market conditions prior to the recent price declines.

"Recent trades for soybeans for the second half of the shipping year are coming in at a significant discount to the values that were traded earlier," he said.

"This is primarily due to the expected record production of soybeans in key growing areas of South America and also larger then expected production in the United States' recently completed harvest."

For more information on Grain Pool's 2009-10 pools, including current pool positions, please contact your local Grain Pool Regional Manager.  

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January

28 JanuaryGrain Pool closes No.1 Harvest Pool for Canola

Grain Pool has closed its 2009-10 No.1 Harvest Pool for Canola, effective as at 9am today, 28 January 2010. A No.2 Harvest Pool for canola will open next week.

Grain Pool's Accumulations Manager, Grant Thompson said the canola pool was closed in order to protect the equity for existing pool participants.

"There has been a large decline in cash prices for canola recently," Mr Thompson said.

"This is primarily due to the recent USDA report's bearish outlook for the oilseed market and the expectation that prices will come under increased pressure as the large South American soybean crop heads into harvest.

"Also adding pressure to canola values is recent announcements from China regarding tightening monetary policy. This is making the market fearful of a slowdown in consumption given China is the biggest importer of oilseed."

Mr Thompson said the canola pool was closed with an Estimated Pool Return of $462 per tonne.

For more information on Grain Pool's 2009-10 pools, including current pool positions, please contact your local Grain Pool Regional Manager.  

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28 JanuaryGrain Pool Estimated Pool Return update - 28 January 2010

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Grain Pool Update

2009-10 Pools

There have been no changes to the Estimated Pool Returns (EPRs) for Grain Pool's 2009-10 pools this week.

2008-09 Pools

Grain Pool's 2008-09 pools are also unchanged this week.

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28 JanuaryCBH Grain Estimated Pool Return update - 28 January 2010

Thursday, 28 January 2010

CBH Grain Update

2009-10 Pools

The Estimated Pool Returns (EPRs) for CBH Grain's 2009-10 wheat pools have dropped $10 per tonne this week. Based on APW1 grade, the EPR for the South Australian Harvest Pool for Wheat is now $250 per tonne and the EPR for the Victorian Harvest Pool for Wheat is now $252 per tonne.

This week's downward movement for wheat reflects the recent sharp decline in international wheat values. It appears the market had already factored in the much anticipated funds rebalancing, with the release of the recent USDA report having the greater impact. The USDA report indicated that US ending wheat stocks were up 1.6 million tonnes, which was well above market expectations. The report also highlighted the drop in world usage, lifting world end stocks from 190.9 million tonnes to 195.6 million tonnes. These factors have placed pressure on international wheat values.  The outlook for wheat is expected to remain bearish over the next few months until the production potential of the emerging winter wheat crop is known.

There are no changes to the EPRs for CBH Grain's 2009-10 Harvest Pool for Barley.

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28 JanuaryGrain Pool closes 2009-10 Oats Pool

Grain Pool has closed its No.1 Harvest Pool for Oats, effective 5pm yesterday, 27 January 2010. Grain Pool will not be opening a No.2 pool for oats.

The current Estimated Pool Returns for Grain Pool's 2009-10 Oats Pool are $203 per tonne for Grade 1, $176 per tonne for Wandering and $172 per tonne for Grade 2 oats.

The closure of the oats pool comes within a week of Grain Pool delivering a $10 per tonne top-up payment to all growers who participated in Grain Pool's 2008-09 Harvest Pool for Oats and opted for the Pool and Deferred payment options. This top-up payment was worth more than $1 million in total for Western Australian oat growers.

For more information on Grain Pool's 2009-10 pools, including current pool positions, please contact your local Grain Pool Regional Manager.  

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27 JanuaryDailyGrain® integrates wtih CBH's LoadNet® to offer growers enhanced services

On-line grain price discovery and management service DailyGrain® has integrated with the CBH Group's LoadNet® on-line system to provide growers with enhanced services and greater flexibility to assist them with their grain marketing.

DailyGrain® is a Western Australian based on-line paid membership service that compares marketers' live prices for grain every working day throughout the year. In May last year, DailyGrain sold a 50 per cent stake of the business to one of Australia's leading grain organisations, the CBH Group.

DailyGrain General Manager, Gavin Bignell said the partnership with the CBH Group was a logical step for the business and has delivered a range of benefits to members over the past year.

"DailyGrain® provides a valuable service in terms of arming its users with the right information to make better decisions for their businesses and, as such, has a lot of synergies with the CBH Group in terms of trying to better assist WA grain growers and enhance the value of their grain," Mr Bignell said.

"One of the greatest benefits to come from our partnership with the CBH Group is the link we have been able to establish with LoadNet®, which has enabled us to create a one-stop shop, on-line marketplace for growers.

"Through DailyGrain's new MyLoadNet section, all of our members now have direct access to all of their live information in the CBH Group's LoadNet® system and can sell directly to a live cash price in one simple step.

"This saves growers a lot of valuable time and is a more convenient way for members to market their grain compared to the traditional way of having to ring each buyer individually, find out the best cash price, make a cash contract and then log onto LoadNet® and nominate the grain to the contract.

"The daily SMS and email service that our members receive has also benefited from the link with LoadNet®, with the price information that members receive for the 2010 membership year automatically based on the grain and grades they delivered in 2009.

"Our link with LoadNet® allows DailyGrain® to provide a more tailored service to members, giving them an easier and more efficient method to receive information to help with their grain marketing.

"Over the next 12 months, we'll be looking to further develop the integration of DailyGrain® with LoadNet® to provide more enhancements to the system and make transactions even smoother and faster for all our users."

CBH Group Operations Manager and DailyGrain Board Member, Michael Musgrave, said the partnership with DailyGrain has allowed both businesses to further assist Western Australian grain growers in a deregulated environment.

"With the introduction of Grain Express, a lot of growers' normal business transactions were shifted on-line to LoadNet® and many growers were asking for a price discovery option to further assist them with their grain marketing in a deregulated marketplace.

"After looking at various options, the CBH Group made the decision to partner with DailyGrain to help meet this grower need and further enhance the LoadNet® system for users.

"Having LoadNet® now linked to DailyGrain® is an exciting enhancement indeed, and now makes it even easier for growers to manage their grain business."

For more information or to become a member, contact DailyGrain direct on 9435 1144 or visit www.dailygrain.com.au

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22 JanuaryGrain Pool closes No.1 Harvest Pool for feed barley

Grain Pool has closed its No.1 Harvest Pool for Feed Barley grade, effective 11am today, 22 January, 2010.  A No.2 pool will open for Feed Barley grade early next week.

Grain Pool's Accumulations Manager, Grant Thompson said the pool was closed in order to protect the equity for existing pool participants.

"The outlook for feed barley continues to be bearish with high stock levels in the Ukraine and European Union driving prices down," Mr Thompson said.

"The Feed Barley Pool was well supported by growers this season, and in order to protect those growers who have contracted tonnes into the pool, we needed to close the No.1 pool."

Mr Thompson said the large global supply of feed barley is impacting on international feed values.

"Trade into the Black Sea and Saudi has dropped away in recent weeks," he said.

"Unseasonal rainfall in Saudi Arabia, the world's largest feed barley market, has resulted in less import demand for feed barley due to better grazing conditions locally. Saudi currently has an excess supply of 2 million tonnes of feed barley which is likely to put them out of the market in the short term."

Mr Thompson said Grain Pool's Pool Management Committee reviews pool positions on a daily basis.

"The No.1 Harvest Pool for Malting Barley will remain open at this stage as international values are finding support due to a steady demand and an Australian supply shortage," he said.

"We will close the oats pool next week as the pool isn't being supported given most growers are choosing to market their oats for cash this season.

"Grain Pool has been informing growers throughout harvest that pools can close at any time and without notice. This is why we offered Guaranteed Access Contracts for all our Harvest Pools this season."

For more information on Grain Pool's 2009-10 pools, including current pool positions, please contact your local Grain Pool Regional Manager.  

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22 JanuaryOat growers receive $1 million top-up from Grain Pool

Grain Pool has today delivered a top-up payment to those growers who participated in Grain Pool's 2008-09 Harvest Pool for Oats and opted for the Pool and Deferred payment options. The payment is worth more than $1 million in total for Western Australian oat growers.

Grain Pool's Accumulations Manager, Grant Thompson said the top-up payment was $10 per tonne for all grades.

"To date, this brings total pool payments for the 2008-09 oats pool to $190 per tonne for all grades," Mr Thompson said.

"The pool's sales program has been successful and we expect the final payments to be delivered to participants before April, 2010. There's only a small tonnage left to sell and we're currently filling contracts with some of our long term customers."

Mr Thompson said Grain Pool offered the No.1 Harvest Pool for Oats again this season, however, growers are advised that the pool will be closing next Wednesday, 27 January 2010 so if they are considering delivering into this pool they should do so immediately.

"We offered oats growers both cash and pooling options this harvest, although we found most growers chose to market their oats for cash," he said.

"The 2009-10 No.1 Harvest Pool for Oats increased by $15 per tonne last week, reflecting the continued strength in the international oats market.

"In Canada, the world's largest oat producing region, we're seeing an increased usage of stock and ending stocks are expected to be lower than the five year average and considerably lower than last year's record high levels.

"We've also had some quality concerns with this season's Australian crop as low test weight and high screenings have resulted in lower than expected yields. This is adding further support to local oat prices."

For more information on any of Grain Pool's grain marketing options, growers can contact their local Grain Pool Regional Manager.

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21 JanuaryGrain Pool Estimated Pool Return update - 21 January 2010

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Grain Pool Update

2009-10 Pools

The Estimated Pool Returns (EPRs) for Grain Pool's 2009-10 wheat pools have been revised downwards this week. The EPRs for the No.1 Harvest Pool and Managed Pool have dropped $10 per tonne to $246 per tonne and $275 per tonne respectively. Grain Pool's Benchmark Pool has dropped $20 per tonne to a revised EPR of $238 per tonne.

Since last week's EPR update there has been a sharp decline in international wheat values. It appears the market had already factored in the much anticipated funds rebalancing, with the release of the recent USDA report having the greater impact. The USDA report indicated that US ending wheat stocks were up 1.6 million tonnes, which was well above market expectations. The report also highlighted the drop in world usage, lifting world end stocks from 190.9 million tonnes to 195.6 million tonnes. These factors have placed pressure on international wheat values. To add to this negative trend the Australian dollar continues to climb higher on the back of strong commodity prices, prospective interest rate rises and a weakening US dollar.  The outlook for wheat is expected to remain bearish over the next few months until the production potential of the emerging winter wheat crop is known.

All other 2009-10 pools are unchanged this week.

2008-09 Pools

Grain Pool's 2008-09 pools remain unchanged this week.

*Please note: All EPRs are quoted as FOB. GST is exclusive of this price.

Growers are advised that Grain Pool pools can close at any time without notice.

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21 JanuaryCBH Grain Estimated Pool Return update - 21 January 2010

Thursday, 21 January 2010

CBH Grain Update

2009-10 Pools

There are no changes to CBH Grain's 2009-10 Estimated Pool Returns this week.

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19 JanuaryCBH welcomes move to keep grain on rail

The CBH Group has welcomed the State Government's approval yesterday of the grain freight package for Western Australia's rail network.

The deal will see a $6.9 million Transition Assistance Package (TAP) provided to temporarily offset the additional freight costs associated with keeping grain on rail rather than road. The package also includes a $43.5 million commitment to re-sleeper the Great Southern Railway - the railway line which connects grain receival sites from Avon to Albany.

CBH Group Executive Manager for Logistics, Tim Collins said the TAP would enable the CBH Group to continue to use a number of the narrow gauge lines which feed grain into the standard gauge lines to port, at least for the next 12 months.

"The CBH Group is absolutely committed on behalf of growers to use the least cost pathway to get their grain to port. The TAP allows us to do that whilst continuing to support the grain rail network," he said.

 "Without the TAP, those narrow gauge lines would no longer have been competitive with road and around one million tonnes of grain would have shifted to road," Mr Collins said. "That is the equivalent of an extra 40,000 truck movements on local country roads and on the major highways leading into and through the Perth metropolitan area to reach the Kwinana Port Terminal.

"However, the TAP will only provide assistance for the next 12 months which is why it's vital that the State Government continues to take action in future years on the remaining recommendations outlined in the Strategic Grain Network Committee's report."

"While this package is only the start of a solution, is it certainly a step in the right direction for WA's grain rail network."

"We hope that the Federal Government will also recognise the need to invest the required matching funding to complete the resleepering of the Avon to Albany rail line and help to secure the future of the grain transport network of the biggest grain producing State in the nation," he said.

Moving forward Mr Collins said the CBH Group intends to work with the State Government in the roll out of the recommendations of the SGNR including plans to further invest in road-to-rail and rapid rail loading technology at its Avon and Brookton receival sites, a key part of the longer term strategy to keep grain on rail once the TAP is removed.

Mr Collins said the Strategic Grain Network Committee had done an outstanding job in its review of the network, by highlighting the immediate and long term threats facing WA's grain rail network.

"It's been a rigorous and inclusive process and, with Transport Minister Simon O'Brien's support, the review is now achieving results for the State's grains industry."

"Cross subsidisation within the network is no longer possible in a competitive environment and the Strategic Grain Network Committee recognised the need for a Government-led transition plan for the industry - ensuring that grain can continue to be moved on rail while the rail and road network is upgraded."

CBH General Manager Operations Colin Tutt said the State Government's announcement would also enhance the process the CBH Group now had underway to put one of its biggest contracts - the transport of grain by rail - out to tender.

Mr Tutt said the decision to go to tender for the first time was part of the significant change occurring in the grains industry in Western Australia.

"Increased competition means our commitment to delivering the most effective and efficient grain logistics supply chain for WA growers and their customers is stronger than ever," he said.

"This tender demonstrates that CBH Group is exploring every avenue to provide a competitive rail system that will attract tonnes off road and back to rail."

Mr Tutt said the expected formal release of tender documents in early March followed extensive preliminary work by CBH to identify potential rail providers around the world and to ensure the terms of the new long term partnership provided all parties with both the flexibility and certainty to make the investment needed to improve performance.

"We have had very encouraging interest from rail companies in Australia and overseas and the State Government's announcement yesterday will only enhance that," he said.

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19 JanuaryGrain Pool delivers more than $101 million to wheat participants

Grain Pool has delivered a fourth distribution payment to those growers who participated in Grain Pool's 2008-09 wheat pools and opted for the Harvest Loan and Distribution payment methods. The payment was deposited into participating growers' bank accounts or against outstanding harvest loan accounts on Friday, 15 January, 2010.

Grain Pool's Accumulations Manager, Grant Thompson said the total payment is worth more than $101 million to WA growers and includes a fourth distribution payment of $41.12 per tonne, based on APW2 grade deliveries to the 2008-09 No.1 Harvest Pool for Wheat.

"This means that for most of our 2008-09 wheat pools, the cumulative distribution payments made to date total more than 93 percent of the pool's current Estimated Pool Return (EPR)," Mr Thompson said.

"The equities for our 2008-09 wheat pools have stayed stable in a season that saw the largest annual price decrease on record for wheat prices.

"Even with the recent downturn in the market and last week's spike in the Australian Dollar the pools' EPRs are holding well and Grain Pool is aiming to finalise its 2008-09 wheat pools before the end of April, 2010.

Mr Thompson said Grain Pool's 2008-09 Harvest Pool for Wheat has increased slightly from the initial Nominated Estimated Pool Return (NEPR).

"The EPR for our 2008-09 Harvest Pool for wheat, based on APW2 grade is currently $325 per tonne," he said.

"This is up $5 per tonne from the NEPR released in the lead-up to the 2008-09 season which reflects Grain Pool's commitment to posting realistic and competitive pool estimates - estimates which we genuinely believe we can deliver on if all things remain equal."

Growers participating in this season's No.1 Harvest Pool for Wheat have five payment options available - each designed to suit different business needs. These options include the Advance, Harvest Loan, Flexi Loan, Distributions and Deferred payment methods. For more information on pool payments or any of Grain Pool's grain marketing options, growers can contact their local Grain Pool Regional Manager or Grower Service Centre on 1800 199 083.

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14 JanuaryGrain Pool Estimated Pool Return update - 14 January 2010

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Grain Pool Update

2009-10 Pools

Grain Pool has increased its Estimated Pool Returns (EPRs) for its 2009-10 No.1 Harvest Pool for Oats by $15 per tonne for all grades. This brings the EPR for Grade 1 and Wandering oats to $203 per tonne and $176 per tonne respectively. The EPR for Grade 2 oats is now $172 per tonne.

This $15 per tonne increase is a reflection of stronger international values for oats. The international market for oats has firmed due to a continued strong usage of stock in Canada. Current expectations are that Canadian ending stocks will be below the five year average and considerably lower than last year's record high levels. In addition, the Australian oats crop has come in lower than expected for the 2009-10 season as many growers didn't reach the yields they had anticipated in the lead-up to harvest.  

All other 2009-10 pools are unchanged this week.

2008-09 Pools

Grain Pool's 2008-09 pools remain unchanged this week.

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14 JanuaryCBH Grain Estimated Pool Return update - 14 January 2010

Thursday, 14 January 2010

CBH Grain Update

2009-10 Pools

There are no changes to CBH Grain's 2009-10 Estimated Pool Returns this week.

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07 JanuaryGrain Pool Estimated Pool Return update - 7 January 2010

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Grain Pool Update

2009-10 Pools

There are no changes to Grain Pool's 2009-10 Estimated Pool Returns (EPRs) this week.

2008-09 Pools

Grain Pool's 2008-09 pools also remain unchanged.

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07 JanuaryCBH Grain Estimated Pool Return update - 7 January 2010

Thursday, 7 January 2010

CBH Grain Update

2009-10 Pools

There are no changes to CBH Grain's 2009-10 Estimated Pool Returns this week.

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04 JanuaryNominations for 2010 CBH Group Director Elections to open

Nominations for the 2010 CBH Group Director Elections will open this Thursday, 7 January 2010 and will close at noon on Tuesday, 2 February 2010. The Director Elections will again be conducted by the Western Australian Electoral Commission (WAEC).

The 2010 Director Elections will enable shareholders in each of Districts 2, 3 and 4 to elect one Director.

Shareholders of CBH are reminded that there have been some important changes to the Director Election process following amendments to the Articles of Association which were approved by shareholders in October, 2009.

The most significant is that CBH Directors are now elected based on a five district model, rather than the previous four zone election system.

Directors can now have their main grain growing interests in any election District. A shareholder no longer needs to have their main grain growing interests in a District to stand for election in that District. However, only shareholders in that District can vote for a candidate standing in their District and a shareholder can only stand for election in one District.

This year there are three Director positions open for nominations with the successful candidates to be elected by grower members in March 2010. The Directors whose three-year terms will expire at the 2010 AGM are Trevor Badger, Kevin Fuchsbichler and Steve Tilbrook.

Mr Badger was elected by shareholders in the former Albany Election District, Mr Fuchsbichler was elected by shareholders in the former Kwinana Election District and Mr Tilbrook was elected by shareholders in the former Esperance Election District. All are eligible to nominate for re-election in 2010 in any of Districts 2, 3 or 4.

 For more information on nominations or on voting procedures please contact WAEC Returning Officer, Wayne Nicholson on 9214 0448 or wayne.nicholson@waec.wa.gov.au.

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