RAGT Australia is proud to announce its acquisition of BASF’s open-pollinated wheat seed assets

Left to right:  Dale Skepper, General Manager RAGT Australia, Maqbool Ahmad,  Senior Plant Breeder RAGT Australia, Samuel Gaste, ”New Markets” Territory Director RAGT SEMENCES, David Leah, Technical Product Development Manager – Broadacre RAGT Australia

RAGT AUSTRALIA, part of the global RAGT SEMENCES, European market leader in cereals, is proud to announce acquisition of BASF’s open-pollinated wheat seed assets in Australia.

“This new acquisition fits perfectly in our multi species strategy and reinforces our commitment in bringing innovative solutions to Australian farmers and our Partners” said Samuel Gasté, New Markets Territory Director at RAGT SEMENCES. “It will bring another level of genetic diversity in our global cereal offer.”

After the Seed Force integration, which became RAGT AUSTRALIA on January 1st, 2023, RAGT confirms its ambition in Australia by investing in domestic wheat breeding. “Already rich in a recognized portfolio in malt barley, canola, and fodder species, we are convinced that our new wheat range will strengthen our cooperation with the Australian farming industry and our local partners,” said Damien Robert, CEO of RAGT SEMENCES. He added, “This new acquisition complements our existing wheat breeding programs with unique germplasm and will have a positive impact on our worldwide cereals footprint.”

RAGT AUSTRALIA General Manager, Dale Skepper noted “this is a mature breeding program that has already delivered commercial products and a pipeline flow that appears to be rich with genetics well matched to the Australian market. We’re excited to secure this opportunity to launch into the spring white wheat segment, adding to our existing activities in the market. Our team looks forward to working with partners and providing well adapted solutions to Australian farmers, that potentially extend across the globe.”

Mr Skepper emphasised as part of this acquisition, “ we are also very pleased to be welcoming to our team the architect of the program and senior plant breeder, Maqbool Ahmad to continue to steward the program into the future.”

RAGT Australia, is a rapidly growing Australian seed business, breeding, screening and supplying premium cultivars across Australia. The business is 100% focused on assisting growers and processors increase productivity and profitability.

Think Solutions, Think RAGT.

Learn more about the exciting new additions to our range of wheat varieties

China lifts Australian barley tariffs

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is set to make a breakthrough visit to Beijing later this year after China backed down over punitive barley tariffs, leaving coercive trade sanctions remaining against just $2 billion of Australian exports.

China’s Commerce Ministry announced on Friday it advised the Customs Tariff Commission to remove anti-dumping and countervailing duties on barley imports from Saturday.

“The Ministry of Commerce has ruled that it is no longer necessary to continue to impose anti-dumping duties and countervailing duties on imports of barley originating in Australia in view of changes in the Chinese barley market,” it said in a statement.

The Albanese government will now push for the removal of tariffs on wine using the same template of suspending its World Trade Organisation challenge to allow Chinese officials to conduct a face-saving review.

“This is the right outcome … for Australian producers and the right outcome for Chinese consumers,” Foreign Minister Penny Wong said.

When Labor came to office in May last year, about $20 billion of Australian exports to China had been hit with trade sanctions, including coal, timber and barley.

“That’s now been reduced to about $2 billion, so it is very significant progress in that 15 months,” Trade Minister Don Farrell said, confirming Australia would abandon its WTO challenge.

“It is another very positive step in the full resumption of normal trade between Australia and China.”

The outstanding $2 billion includes tariffs of up to 220 per cent on wine, and de facto bans on lobster and red meat from some abattoirs.

The decision to end tariffs on barley exports – which peaked at $900 million in 2018-19 – helps pave the way for Mr Albanese to visit Beijing later this year, although further easing of trade sanctions may be required.

Andrew Tillett and Michael Smith

Australian Financial Review, 04 August 2023

RAGT helps harvest rewards at National HYC Awards Roadshow

National HYC awards roadshow kicks off with WA and VIC growers recognised as champions for hyper yielding crops

FAR Australia, Australian based field applied researcher, developer and extension provider is thrilled to announce both the WA and VIC Hyper Yielding Crops Award winners for the 2022 season.

Now in its third year, the GRDC’s Hyper Yielding Crops Awards recognise the efforts and achievements of growers nationally who excel in cultivating high yielding crops, through making effective agronomic decisions according to their location and environment.

Previously the HYC Awards have recognised only high yielding wheat crops, however in 2022, barley was introduced into the awards programme across WA, VIC with and SA.

Taking out two HYC Awards for highest wheat and barley yields in WA was Perillup grower Kieran Allison. Mr Allison’s award-winning DS Bennett wheat crop recorded a 7.98t/ha yield whilst his award-winning RGT Planet barley crop yielded 8.93t/ha.

WA winners from left to right – John Blake (GRDC Western Panel member), Nick Poole (FAR Australia), Kieran Allison (HYC Award winner). Jon Midwood (TechCrop), Ben Webb (HYC Award winner), Charles Caldwell (HYC Award winner), Dan Fay (Stirlings to Coast Farmers).

In Victoria, the winning wheat yield clocked 10.59t/ha which was grown by Ascot grower, Ben Findlay. Mr Findlay chose RGT Cesario which was grown over a 42ha paddock. The winning barley yield, RGT Planet was entered into the competition by Streatham grower Ed Weatherly which yielded 7.5t/ha, this was grown over an area of 61ha following wheat.

From left to right – Greta Duff (Southern Farming Systems), Darcy Warren (FAR Australia), Ed Weatherly (HYC Award winner), Jon Midwood (TechCrop), Ben Findlay (HYC Award winner), Nick Poole, (FAR Australia).

The HYC Awards also recognise those growers who reach the highest yield based on the percentage of yield potential for their respective regions.

Winning this category in WA for wheat was Scotts Brook grower Ben Webb who topped a yield of 6.54t/ha crop of Planet (79 percent of potential). Charles Caldwell, also from Scotts Brook took out the barley award with his 7.76t/ha crop of RGT Planet (84 percent of potential).

The winning wheat and barley yields in Victoria were also recorded as being the highest percentage of potential with of 87 and 70 percent respectively.

Nick Poole, Managing Director Field Applied Research (FAR) Australia and project lead for the GRDC’s national Hyper Yielding Crops initiative recently presented the 2022 HYC trial results at the WA HYC Results and awards evenings in Kendenup, WA and Skipton, Victoria. Here he jointly presented the HYC Awards with HYC extension co-ordinator Jon Midwood of TechCrop, Dan Fay of Stirlings to Coast Farmers in WA and Greta Duff of Southern Farming Systems in Victoria.

Mr Poole says the HYC Awards have built community interest in pushing productivity boundaries nationally.

“These dedicated growers have demonstrated exceptional agronomic skills and techniques, resulting in remarkable yields whilst contributing positively to the overall success of the Australian grains industry.

“Their innovative approaches and best practices serve as an inspiration to the WA and Victoria cropping communities, driving pursuit of higher crop yields and sustainable farming practices,” he says.

“I would like to extend my congratulations to all winners for their outstanding achievements, these emphasise the importance of a community approach whilst pushing the boundaries to increase productivity and profitability.”

RGT Cesario red winter wheat and RGT Planet malt accredited spring barley

All those who participate in the HYC Awards are presented with a comprehensive report, which not only assists with identifying the different agronomic decisions made throughout the season’s growing conditions, but also provides each grower with the ability to closely benchmark these key decisions with other growers in their region.

Nominations are now open for the 2023 season and growers wishing to participate are urged to contact their respective project officer for more information if they would like to enter a crop this season.

The national HYC Results and Awards roadshow continues throughout July and August in South Australia, Tasmania and New South Wales; further details can be found on the FAR Australia website events page https://faraustralia.com.au/event.

More information https://faraustralia.com.au/hyper-yielding-crops.

WA HYC Project Officer: Dan Fay, Stirlings to Coast Farmers (dan.fay@scfarmers.org.au)

VIC HYC Project Officer: Ashley Amourgis, Southern Farming Systems (aamourgis@sfs.org.au)

Important notice of immediate changes for canola treated with haloxyfop

Australian canola growers and farm advisors are notified that the European Union (EU) has announced it intends to reduce the maximum residue limit (MRL) for haloxyfop.

To meet this changing MRL, this means 2023/24 canola treated with haloxyfop should not be delivered or received into the Australian grain handling system for canola segregations (grades) destined for export. This change is necessary as, if delivered, it will jeopardise market access to the EU for Australian canola. This applies to canola received in the 2023/24 season.

Whilst haloxyfop remains a legally registered product in Australia, any future use on canola, given the impending change in the EU MRL, will result in a residue detection above the new EU MRL. To maintain access into the EU market, Australian canola growers are advised of the need to use alternative weed control options for the 2023 season crop, and in future cropping programs. Potential alternatives are listed in the information sheet which can be accessed by the button below.

Australian canola is highly sought after in overseas export markets. To maintain our strong trading reputation and ensure continued market access, it is critical that exported canola meets import country MRLs.

This information sheet provides background on the EU’s decision, to be proactive and help inform growers and industry about these important changes.

Information on this notice has been generated and supported by the Australian Oilseeds Federation, Grains Australia, Grains Research and Development Corporation, Grain Trade Australia, the National Working Party on Grain Protection, Grain Producers Australia and GrainGrowers Limited.

Seed Force comes under the umbrella of RAGT

Present in five continents, the seed company RAGT wants to develop its activity and raise awareness of its multi-species strategy. This notably involves grouping together its subsidiaries under the RAGT banner. In Australia and New Zealand, RAGT Australia and RAGT New Zealand came into being on 1st January 2023.

“The potential for development of our activities is real in South America, Oceania and Africa. We are also exploring North America”, confides Samuel Gasté, New Markets Territory Director at RAGT.

In 2018, RAGT underwent a change in organisation. Previously split into three pillars (cereals and proteins, forage and turf, and hybrids), the seeds activities are since piloted by territory, five worldwide: France, Northern & Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Southern Europe, and finally the New Markets (North America, South America, Africa, Asia, Middle East and Oceania).

Samuel Gasté (centre) with the RAGT Australia Team

“The objective is that each Territory Director guarantees the development of the multi-species strategy of RAGT in the countries they pilot”, explains Samuel Gasté, New Markets Territory Director. “Whereas before, the key to entry was the species, it is now territories”. This is a change that, over some months, has seen the deployment of the RAGT brand on different continents.

“Since 1st January, two new subsidiaries have joined us” explains Samuel Gasté: RAGT NZ in New Zealand and RAGT Australia, in Australia. These two structures existed before, but under the name Seed Force. In 2020, RAGT, who already owned 40% of the companies, acquired them in total. Since then, it has been important to us to bring these two entities under the RAGT brand to clearly identify the group in each market and highlight the diversity of the solutions we offer. 

“In Australia, we offer malting barley, forage grasses, winter oilseed rape and canola. In New Zealand the demand is more for fodder beet and forage grasses. These two countries account for nearly 50% of the group activity in forage grasses. Our presence in the Pacific region will allow us, over time to develop our activity in South East Asia.”

Increase visibility to be better known

In last November, RAGT acquired Tobin, an Argentinian company specialising in the research, production and commercialisation of sorghum, and is recognised as a major player in this market.

“The objective is to merge this structure with our local subsidiary, RAGT Argentina, to then market our solutions under two brands – RAGT and Tobin,” he continues. “The potential for development in our activities is real in South America, Oceania and Africa. We are also exploring North America. But that won’t happen without recruiting new talent”, he admits. “To communicate and capitalise on the RAGT brand, we need to increase our visibility and international presence – a strategy which will also attract future employees.”

Anne Gilet
Journaliste à Référence-agro

BIGG Conference grows ‘from the ground up’

On the 15th of February the Barossa Improved Grazing Group held their annual conference dubbed ‘From the Ground Up’. The conference included a number of guest speakers to discuss carbon farming, the financial benefits of ewe containment, wool harvesting, and many other topics.

RAGT’s David ‘Rocky’ Barnett with Barenbrug territory manager Aston Barr, Biostart’s Nick Smyth and Pepperwell Poll Merino stud principal Hansi Graet

The conference consisted of over 50 attendees, including our very own David ‘Rocky’ Barnett. This conference gave an invaluable opportunity for attendees to ask all the speakers any questions that they might need answered, to give a holistic understanding of the presentation, and be able to apply what they’ve learnt on their farms.