Balco boosts hay into China
Les Pearson reports
HAY exports to China are contributing to significant recent growth in the State’s trade sector.
Minister for Trade, Tom Koutsantonis, said a breakdown of South Australia’s record-breaking export result in 2011 shows targeting Asian markets is paying huge dividends.
Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show the value of goods exported overseas by South Australia in 2011 totalled a record $12 billion, up 29 per cent on the previous year.
“Strong growth was recorded with both India and China in 2011, reinforcing the government’s policy of supporting our exporters to target these emerging markets,” Mr Koutsantonis said.
“These two destinations comprise more than a quarter of South Australia’s total export market and we will continue to target both of these economies in 2012 for both trade and investment.
Export markets that experienced growth in 2011 compared with the previous year include China, up 40 per cent.
The value of goods exported overseas by South Australia in 2011 totalled a record $12 billion, up 29 per cent on the previous year.
“Our rural exports after years of drought are providing significant support to South Australia’s overall economy,” Mr Koutsantonis said.
“Export growth means increasing overseas income for our farmers, miners and exporters which can be reinvested and spent in regional South Australia to support jobs and our rural communities.”
Balco general manager, Rob Lawson, said hay exports to China have followed a similar growth pattern in recent years.
“Most of the increase would come from the mining industry but South Australia is definitely the biggest exporter of the hay product to China,” he explained.
“Between Johnson’s at Kapunda and Balco, we are the two biggest exporters of hay into China. Hay exports are growing and the numbers are getting better.”
While Balco’s Chinese export figures haven’t quite risen by 40 per cent, they do reflect the overall statewide export increase.
“We would be in the order of a 20 to 25 per cent increase and a majority of the hay product is coming out of South Australia,” Mr Lawson said.
“We see China as the growth market that we deal with.”
The company employed specialist international marketer, Tim Latchford, a few years ago specifically targeting the Chinese market.
“Tim actively visits China about four times per year and works with the wide customer base there,” Mr Lawson said.
“Tim and other representatives from Balco participate in and support dairy conferences there too.”
Balco recently appealed to farmers to grow both oaten and wheaten hay this year in an effort to further ramp up exports to China.
It is the Chinese dairy industry requiring the hay, given the country’s recent venture into providing children with a glass of milk every day, similar to an Australian initiative from the 1950-70s.
“That’s why there’s been a big growth in the dairy industry,” Mr Lawson explained.
“If we can get the hay, we’re sure there is more growth available into that market.”
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