Agreement opens way for canola shipments

MIDLANDS farmer Bill Chilvers likes to grow canola because it helps with crop rotation, but a new trade agreement will mean some of his crop may go to China.

Australian canola producers can look forward to new market opportunities in the huge Chinese market with the resumption of bulk shipments of canola now under way.

Agriculture Department deputy secretary Rona Mellor said yesterday the first bulk shipments of Australian canola since 2009 had landed in China as part of a new joint research agreement between the two countries.

“The new agreement ensures we recommence the trade in a way that prevents the entry of blackleg fungus into China,” Ms Mellor said.

“Since reaching agreement, Australia has already shipped $80 million worth of canola destined for the Chinese market and is looking forward to more high-quality Australian product following in the coming weeks and months,” she said.

Mr Chilvers said he may plant more canola if the price was right, but it was already a useful and profitable crop to plant in rotation with wheat and barley, as it broke the cycle of soil-borne diseases.

“The next crop of wheat generally goes very well and it’s good for weed control as well,” he said.

Mr Chilvers recently planted 150 hectares of canola, which will be harvested in December.

Midlands farmer Bill Chilvers in a field of newly planted canola at his property, Oakdene, next to the Symmons Plains race track. Mr Chilvers has planted 150 hectares of canola, which is due for harvest in December. Picture: NEIL RICHARDSON

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