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Andrew Whitelaw

Andrew Whitelaw
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Recent Posts

Agriculture in the age of outrage

Posted by Andrew Whitelaw on 17 October 2018

We inhabit a world of outrage, which has only been amplified by the ability to generate considerable 'noise' on social media. It can seem like agriculture is under constant threat from campaigners with various outrages or causes. 

In this opinion piece we look at the data on public (not activist) interest in several controversial agricultural topics and we will provide some ideas on how we should use the fickle nature of public opinion.

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Topics: Agriculture, activists, Australian cattle industry, Australian wool industry

The state of farm management deposits

Posted by Andrew Whitelaw on 5 September 2018

Up, down, up, down, down, down & up. Farming is one of the most variable occupations in the world. Our profitability is determined by several factors including drought, pricing & government intervention. Australia is lucky to have access to farm management deposit (FMD) accounts to mitigate the impact of seasonal conditions. In this update we look at the state of FMD accounts at present during the drought.

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Topics: Agriculture, Farm management deposits, Drought, Risk management

Washing and rolling over grain contracts

Posted by Andrew Whitelaw on 31 July 2018

In many areas of the country the outlook for the crop looks bleak. There are many farmers out there who have forward sold grain and will not have the production to deliver.

Washing out a forward sold grain contract is a stressful action. In this short article, we will look at washouts and rollovers - and why it is so important to look at it early. 

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Topics: Grain market / grain price

A $50bn risk to Australian farmers.

Posted by Andrew Whitelaw on 20 June 2018

In recent years overseas travel has become cheaper and easier and people are travelling to more exotic and ‘unusual’ destinations.

This travel brings with it the risk of disease spread on the feet of travellers, the worst of which is the dreaded foot and mouth disease. 

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Topics: livestock, Risk management, Animal Welfare

“……not calling for the slaughter of white people‚ at least for now”, South African MP.

Posted by Andrew Whitelaw on 23 March 2018

This is an astonishing comment from a leading South African politician. If you have been following the news in recent days, you would likely be aware of the deteriorating situation facing South African farmers. In 2017, 82 farmers were killed, in 423 attacks on farms. So far in 2018 there have been 15 murders and 109 attacks.

What is going on, what is likely to be the impact of these actions, and should they learn some lessons from neighbouring Zimbabwe?

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Topics: Agriculture, africa, Politics

Banning GM crops provides a premium in South Australia……..

Posted by Andrew Whitelaw on 11 March 2018

South Australia is the only major crop producing area in Australia which does not allow the commercial production of GM crops. We were tasked by the industry with answering the question:

”Does the GM moratorium, provide a premium price to South Australian farmers?”

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Topics: Grain market / grain price

Unusual stunts from animal rights activists, and how to react to them.

Posted by Andrew Whitelaw on 4 February 2018

Protests in steak restaurants, sheep vigils, monuments to fallen chicken & attacking fictional cartoon characters. These are areas which animal rights activists have campaigned in the past month.

In the modern world of social media, and instant communication, it can be easy to spread a message. How should the industry respond to these stunts? 

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Topics: animal rights, Animal Welfare

Flaming frost, Flipping wind, dastardly dry, blooming rain – Is there anything we can do about it?

Posted by Andrew Whitelaw on 22 January 2018

Anyone who has worked in Australian agriculture for more than a couple of days will have heard one of the above, albeit most likely with stronger adjectives.

If there is one guarantee for farmers in Australia it’s that we are at the mercy of the gods when it comes to weather. In such a big country, there will always be an area where something will be going wrong with the weather.

Many of you will have heard about multiperil crop insurance, but what about weather insurance & derivatives. Are these a suitable risk management option for protecting against the weather?

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Topics: insurance, Agriculture, Risk management

If the Agtech bubble bursts, who will the survivors be?

Posted by Andrew Whitelaw on 22 January 2018

In recent years there has been an upsurge in agtech funding to previously unheard-of levels. A day doesn’t go by without a conference, media coverage or new product launch in the agtech space.

As with all start-ups there will be winners and losers, but what factors will help make a successful product?

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Topics: agtech, innovation

Deferring grain pricing: More than one way to skin a cat.

Posted by Andrew Whitelaw on 11 January 2018

At this time of year, those lucky to have grain on hand will now be deciding whether it is best to sell their grain or hold on for higher prices. There are numerous ways of deferring pricing, and provide exposure to the market at a later date.

This short article will provide summaries of easily accessible options.

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Topics: Grain market / grain price

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