Month: July 2020

Regional Livestock Manager Announcement: Toby Hammond

StockCo is proud to announce the newest Regional Livestock Manager for New South Wales, Toby Hammond. We asked Toby to share some of his credentials, past experiences and ambitions he has for his new role at StockCo.

Toby has had a long-standing devotion to the Agricultural industry. 

“I have been brought up in Agriculture and enjoy the diverse nature of the industry. It’s always presenting fantastic opportunities and unique challenges that call for innovative ideas and constant change.”

Toby was confident in his pursuit of a career within the Agricultural industry. He studied his Bachelor’s degree of Agribusiness at Marcus Oldham College in Victoria and worked within the live export industry during his studies. 

Toby recognised the fantastic career opportunity offered by StockCo and knew his ambition, relationship-building skills and forward-thinking attitude would make him the perfect fit for the role of Regional Livestock Manager.

“I am excited to continue building relationships with farmers and other key customers. I enjoy meeting new people and appreciating how they run their operation. It’s exciting to see the really interesting and innovative ideas farmers employ to drive their business.”

Toby brings a sound understanding of livestock market operations to his new role and is eager to continue building and maintaining strong relationships with his clients. 

Toby’s has one main overarching goal for all of his new clients:

“To provide excellent customer service and assist with helping to grow their business and achieve their goals.”

Toby is optimistic about the current opportunities he sees for his clients right now. 

“With a break in the season and the shortage of livestock, I see the opportunity for customers to rebuild their herd and flock numbers with access to finance that provides simplicity. Whilst there is a focus on the start of the supply chain with farmers and agents. I also believe an opportunity exists in the middle of the supply chain with processors and feedlots using the StockCo facility to access livestock supply.”

When Toby isn’t spending time helping out at the family farm on Oberon, he is either catching up with friends or family or spending time with his partner Georgie.

We want to give Toby the warmest welcome into his new role of Regional Livestock Manager in Wagga Wagga. If you’re looking for support to maximise your livestock operation, get in touch with Toby on 0488 666 648.

New CEO Announcement: Doug Snell

We are very pleased to announce the appointment of Doug Snell as CEO of our Australian Business. We sat down with Doug to discuss his journey into the Agricultural financing sector as well as gain a deeper insight into his plans for StockCo’s future.

Doug admits he has always had finance in his blood and been destined for the role of StockCo’s CEO. His mother was one of the first female stockbrokers in New Zealand, his father had roles in insurance and his brother is a Financial Markets specialist.

For just over 30 years, Doug himself has been heavily involved in the finance industry. Initially, Doug started out working in International Trade Finance and later ventured into Foreign Exchange, Interest Rate and Commodity Risk management within financial markets.

When Doug furthered his involvement in the Agricultural sector, he was motivated to gain a better understanding of how the banking sector could further assist their customers. Doug was then promoted to General Manager Agribusiness for Queensland and the Northern Territory, and Specialised Agribusiness Solutions Nationally for Commonwealth Bank of Australia. 

Eventually, Doug branched out and moved to the Bank of Queensland as General Manager Business and Agri Banking which sparked his involvement in opening the first Agribusiness division for the bank.

In his long-standing career, Doug says he has one stellar achievement in the corporate arena.

“The successful turnaround and growth of businesses I have managed. These businesses range from Financial Markets teams in Hong Kong and Singapore to the BOQ Business and Agri Banking teams. I was proud to be a part of a professional, yet fun team who understand the importance of culture, including customer-centricity, honesty, integrity and open communication.”

Doug’s constant motivation for success is ignited by the fulfilment he receives from being a part of his customer’s journey. His satisfaction stems solely from being able to help people and seeing people and businesses succeed.

Within his new role at StockCo, Doug says he is most passionate about offering a solution to farmers in Australia and New Zealand and he is most excited about the prospect that his team will have direct input into the financial success of their customers.

Doug has a positive outlook for StockCo’s future and speaks enthusiastically about the opportunities he sees on the horizon.

“It is really hard to predict what will happen in a COVID world, however, I am very confident that with the current and hopefully prevailing weather conditions agribusiness will be a shining light for Australia. The world still needs food, and when you’re providing high-quality product as we are, we should continue to see demand.” 

Doug is often hard at work paving the way for StockCo’s way forward, however, he also enjoys making time to unwind by going on trips with his wife and two kids and staying fit on his bike, in the surf and on the golf course.

We couldn’t be more pleased to have Doug on board as our new CEO and witness him contribute to the inevitable success of StockCo’s bright future. 

Regional Livestock Manager Announcement: Michael Phelan

StockCo is proud to announce our newest Regional Livestock Manager for Victoria-based in Horsham, Michael Phelan (Mick). To give our community and valued customers an insight into our newest StockCo member, we sat down with Mick to fill us in on his credentials, relevant experience and hobbies and interests. 

Mick Phelan comes from a strong financial background with a Commerce Degree from Deakin University in Geelong. He found his strengths in his analytical abilities and love for numbers which ultimately lead to his decision to major in Finance, Financial Planning and Commercial Law.

Mick also has a long-standing passion for agriculture, having spent 15 years building his career within the industry. 

“Working within the agricultural industry is a very genuine existence and rewarding way to live,” he says.

After working his way from farmhand to Area Sales Manager at Impact Fertilisers, Mick decided to transition into the role of Regional Livestock Manager at StockCo. This, he attributes to our history of growth combined with our great culture, young and professional team and minimal barriers to doing business.

“It is exciting to be part of a company where there are so many opportunities to grow in the next few years and I am sure the role will challenge me at the same time.”

Throughout his career, Mick has gained a wealth of experience in Sales and has a highly relevant skillset for his new role at StockCo.

Mick also has plenty of experience forming strong relationships based on integrity and transparency. 

As Mick enters into his new role, he has designated two main goals for his clients.

  1. To become a trusted part of my client’s business and for them to simply be able to rely on me to be able to facilitate their needs and get to job done so they can reach their goals sooner,
  2. To become part of his client’s business for an extended period and be part of their long-term strategy as opposed to just being a one-time proposition.

Evidently, Mick sees a bright future for his clients. 

“I think the opportunities vary across the area I will be looking after. Some regions in the north and east of the state are coming out of an extended dry period therefore the opportunity will be to get back to full capacity as soon as possible.” 

“However, other areas of VIC such as the south-west have had some very good seasons in recent years, therefore, I think the opportunity here lies in maximising outcomes whilst the going is good, whether that be utilising pastures whilst the feed is there or finishing stock on stubble post-harvest, which at this stage of the season, look like they are going to be quite heavy.”

Outside of work, Mick enjoys staying active. This includes getting involved in the Harrow-Balmoral Football Club, where he is an active member and proud club president.

Mick also likes to do his bit in hands-on farm work to keep his skills sharp.

We want to give Mick a warm welcome into his new role of Regional Livestock Manager in Horsham. If you’re looking for support to maximise your livestock operation, get in touch with Mick on 0499 913 399.

Mutton to get expensive, relatively speaking.

Key Points

  • Sheep slaughter is expected to get tight, both in absolute terms and relative to lamb.
  • MLA’s forecast is for sheep slaughter to move back towards the levels of 2016-17.
  • There is less downside for sheep prices than lamb values as we move towards the spring.

As we come out of the winter lull evidence is starting to point towards a recovery in lamb supplies, and a continuing dearth in sheep. We have seen this before, but maybe not to the extent that is expected, though we can still look for clues as to how prices might react.

Lamb supplies are bottoming out, and on the way up, and sheep supplies are heading lower as the flock rebuilds. The difference in supply trajectories as we move into spring will see mutton supplies heading back towards the lows of 2016-17, and possibly even lower.

Figure 1 shows how lamb and sheep slaughter has behaved over the long term, with a 12 month moving average over the top to smooth out the chart.  Since 2000, we have seen a divergence of lamb and sheep slaughter. The move towards meat and dual purpose sheep seeing more lambs being produced, along with more Merino wethers being slaughtered as lambs, has increased lamb supplies and decreased sheep.

We can see that in the last year, lamb slaughter has trended down more quickly than sheep.  However, we expect the rolling average to turn upwards for lambs and continue down for sheep.  With lamb and sheep supplies both falling, relative supplies have remained steady since late 2018.

Figure 2 shows sheep slaughter as a proportion of lamb slaughter which highlights that in relative terms, we only just saw a move in tightening sheep supplies in April.  The average sheep slaughter as a proportion of lamb has been tracking at 43% for the last two years.  Meat & Livestock Australia’s (MLA) industry projections suggest that sheep slaughter will be 35% in 2020 and 33% in 2021.

In 2016 and 2017 sheep slaughter was 30% and 33% of lamb slaughter, so while sheep supply is set to be lower than those years, lamb slaughter will be lower as well.

The last two times sheep slaughter was below 35% of lamb slaughter, mutton prices narrowed their discount to lamb prices. Figure 3 shows the National Mutton Indicator (NMI) spread to the Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator (ESTLI).

From 2010 to 2012, when sheep slaughter was at its tightest, the NMI ranged between a 20 and 30% discount to the ESTLI.  In 2016 and 2017, mutton values were not as strong relative to the ESTLI, but they did sit in the 20-30% range for the first half of 2017.

What does this mean?

For most of the last year the NMI sat between a 30-40% discount to the ESTLI.  With sheep slaughter falling relative to lamb slaughter, we can expect the NMI discount to shrink over the coming months, as it is likely to return to the 20-30% discount level.

Moving toward spring, the mutton discount is likely to shrink due to falling lamb prices rather than rising mutton prices.  If mutton remains around 650¢, the ESTLI will be 800-850¢.  Looking from the other angle, if the ESTLI falls back to 750¢, mutton will be 550-620¢.  There is less downside for mutton than lamb over the coming year.

Sales down but stocks up

The stark reality of the wool market woes is reported in this week’s AWEX report; the EMI in Au$ terms is 605 cents or 35% lower than the same period last year. As far as supply is concerned, over the past three months there have been 70,000 bales fewer sold than the corresponding period last year. The figures for bales sold year-on-year are also telling, with 250,000 or 16.7% fewer bales having been sold to date, representing not only a fall in supply but also the higher withdrawal and pass-in rates by growers.

The Eastern Market Indicator (EMI) again disappointed falling by 29¢ this week to close at 1,110¢. The Australian dollar firmed to US$0.695 which influenced the EMI in USD terms to fall by a more modest 12¢ to 771¢. Fremantle came back to selling with the Western Market Indicator playing catch-up falling 71 cents from the previous sale to settle at 1,176¢.

Turnover was up with the inclusion of Fremantle to $31.75 million this week, with the average bale value of $1,280 slightly lower than last week, taking the season to date value to $1,972 million.

After growers withdrew 6.8% of the offering, 28,029 bales came forward this week, and with a pass-in rate of 11.5%, 24,804 bales were sold. This was almost 10,000 bales up on last week.

Mecardo reported this week that unsurprisingly wool stocks in wool stores have grown as the fall in demand flows back to the auction room causing a dramatically reduced clearance. In Andrew Woods article this week he noted “The indications are that this state of affairs will persist into the coming spring. In the longer run the stocks will slow the subsequent (price) recovery but not to the extent of the 1990s as production is now low whereas in the early 1990s it was at record levels.”

The Crossbred sector was also impacted by the weaker market with falls of 20 to 40 cents across the microns.

Cardings have been holding reasonably well, but this week the weight of negative sentiment saw the cardings indicator in Sydney retreat 44 cents, Melbourne minus 50 cents and Freo pulling back 19 cents.

The week ahead

Next week all centres sell on Wednesday & Thursday with 31,072 bales on offer. This is almost an identical offering as this week; however, the question for the wool market is one of demand and this for now is weak.

Is it on or off?

The US grain market gets plenty of attention usually, however in recent times it is the clearly dominant story, and for good reason. Politics is impacting, with a massive export program to China under the Phase 1 deal a big story, we also have the current harvest and crop outlook to contend with. Throw in the dealing from the US government of huge farm subsidies and there is plenty to feed grain news stories.

The scale of the farmer “aid” is huge, with the Trump administration announcing a total of $28 billion in aid for farmers in 2018 and 2019, funds the president says come from the tariffs levied on China. The administration secured another $23.5 billion to help American farmers through the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package passed in March.”

While this type of support is never going to occur in Australia, it has impacts on our price and market access.

The other big issue is the China Phase 1 deal, and depending which day it is or which diplomat is speaking it is either going ahead “full steam”, or about to be dumped. This is a big factor for all grain producing and importing countries, China agreed to purchase between $40 billion and $50 billion of U.S. agricultural goods in each of the next 2 years.

If the deal goes ahead, the rest of the world’s grain exporting nations will search for other markets; if the deal collapses China will scramble for replacement products.

Harvest in the northern hemisphere is ramping up, and by-and-large the results are positive for supply, which means negative for price. All markets are tending softer, with the exception of the European rapeseed/canola market where production disruptions are impacting locally. However, in Russia and France good harvest reports caused markets to soften. The CBOT SRW contract now looks well settled below 500 c/bush, losing a further cent to 485.5 cents this week.

Domestically the weaker international values combined with continued good weather and the prospect of rain in July to see “new crop” prices ease around $10 for wheat & $3 for F1 barley.

Delivered prices to Melbourne for ASW1 wheat is quoted $350 for “old crop” and $290 per tonne for “new crop”. The ASX Jan 2021 contract pulled back another 3 dollars to $285, while the US CME Dec 2020 contract also continued to retrace, ending the week just under 495 cents per bush.

Buyers seem to be in a comfortable space regarding grain requirements up to harvest and happy to let the market soften, while growers are yet to face harvest prices although the continued good seasonal outlook could encourage selling soon.

Next week?

The market is not providing any signals that prices will improve, in fact, the latest BOM weather outlook has July delivering rain that will only improve the outlook for harvest. We will keep a close watch on harvest yield reports from the Northern Hemisphere, if these continue in a positive trend expect further price weakness.