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Australian Soybean Industry commits to ride out the drought

Australian Soybean Industry commits to ride out the drought


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n Australian Soybean Industry commits to ride out the droughtn


On the back of one of the toughest years for the Australian soybean industry, growers and processors alike are stepping up to ensure the industry stays on solid ground. 


 On the back of one of the toughest years for the Australian soybean industry, growers and processors alike are stepping up to ensure the industry stays on solid ground.

The drought conditions over the past 12-18 months have played havoc with the $25 million soybean industry, with less than a third of the volume of the typical crop being harvested in 2019. This has not only impacted farmers, but also the processors making products as diverse as soymilk, tofu, soy flour and tempeh, who have been competing fiercely to secure a share of the small 2019 crop.

 Not to be outdone, the small and resilient industry is fighting back to ensure Australian soybean growers and processors can continue to provide Australian consumers with soy-based foods.

 Innovative growers and their processor partners have begun to produce their second commercial crop of soybeans during winter in far north Queensland, with supplies beginning to enter the market by years-end. “By utilising the available moisture and warmer temperatures in this region, we can grow what would normally be a summer crop, during the winter months. This will go someway to relieving the supply pressures until the next summer crop comes off in May next year” says Shane Causley, soybean grower, and chair of Soy Australia, the peak soybean industry body.

In the meantime, food and drink producers competing for the scarce 2019 soybean crop have driven the price up, which has made soybeans more attractive for growers. The tight supplies have also meant some processors have had to go offshore in order to keep supplying the Australian market. “Its always unfortunate when we have to import products which we can normally supply locally, but this is an unprecedented time and it’s absolutely imperative that Australian soy food and drink manufacturers stay open for business and keep their brands on supermarket shelves” says Nick Goddard, CEO of the Australian Oilseeds Federation. “Inevitably, importing costs more, is more complex, has longer lead times and requires more on-site storage, but this is the short-term reality the industry is facing” he adds. 

“Australian soybeans hold a unique position in the market as they are non-GM, grown through both organic and conventional farming practices, and specifically suited for use in food and drink processing. This is a market position we want to protect, so there is a lot of effort throughout the supply chain to ensure we can retain this position” Goddard says.

 The news of the shortage of soybeans in Australia comes at a time when the rest of the world is awash with soybeans, but that provides little comfort for the Australian industry. The US is the largest global soybean producer, and the current US-China trade dispute has soybeans as one of the key products involved, leaving US farmers and traders with large stockpiles of beans. Unfortunately, these soybeans are largely unsuitable for Australian food processing needs and can not help Australia out of the current short-term squeeze.

 The industry expects that with the determination of Australian soybean growers, combined with a return to more typical summer rainfall patterns, the Australian soybean supply will be abundant in 2020, assuring solid supply of Australian grown soybeans for the domestic soy-based food and beverage industry.


For further information, contact:

Nick Goddard, CEO, Australian Oilseeds Federation. 0433 47 66 22


About the AOF

The Australian Oilseed Federation is the peak industry body for the oilseed industry, representing those involved in the value chain for soybean, canola, sunflower, safflower and other oilseeds. The AOF was established in 1970 to represent the common interests of all Australian oilseed industry participants and to promote the development, expansion and improvement of Australian oilseed production.For more details, visit: Nick GoddardnPhone: 02 80077553

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