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Land and Environment : Agribusiness Assoc. of Australia

Australian Agribusiness Perspectives: 2009


Paper 79, 12th February 2009

The Effect of Low Staple Strength on Farm Wool Profitability

Fiona Frawley and Bill Malcolm

Australia produces 98% of the world’s fine wool. Fine wool attracts price premiums at auction. Fine wool can be much more susceptible to breakage as a result of low staple strength or ‘tender’ wool. Tender wool receives discounts that can range from 3% to up to 30%. This can greatly impact on farm wool income. This study explored whether wool of poor staple strength is a problem in South West Victoria. Based on a Case Study and on industry data it was found that wool with poor staple strength can comprise almost a third of wool sold.

Paper 80, 10th September

Prepare Don't Predict

Bill Malcolm

If the economists are right and we’re in for a sustained period of tough economic times, and if the scientists are right and the world becomes a hotter drier place to farm, then the three biggest challenges for farmers will be (i) responding to severely constrained economic circumstances in Australia and around the world, (ii) farming and changing on a day to day, season to season, and year to year basis in what may be continued and lengthy runs of hotter and drier and more volatile seasons and (iii) adapting to the challenges and re-acting to the opportunities created by policies to reduce carbon pollution around the world. Equally important and more immediate, making good decisions about running the business in the face of product prices coming off high levels places even greater importance than usual on skilled management and operations. Positives could be exchange rates and tough economic times increasing the comparative disadvantage of competitors.

Paper 81, 12th December 2009

Managing Uncertainty Pragmatically in Private and Public Decision-making about Investment

Bill Malcolm

There is no remembrance of things past, neither shall there be remembrance of things to come’: Ecclesiastes

Anticipating the future today is unavoidable. It is often thought that someone who knows what is coming is wise. More accurately, the wise person knows that they do not know what is coming. We can however expect that:

  • The future will arrive
  • The future will be a different world; they will do things differently there
  • Much about the present will be present in the future
  • Some important principles that work now will still work in the future
  • Much of what we believe to be right now will come to be known to be wrong
  • Major factors affecting future lives will be things currently unimagined
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