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Skilled staffing woes ease at Australia beef processors

  • Spanish Market: Agriculture
  • 12/06/24

Many Australian beef processors are starting to consistently hit weekly processing goals, as staffing woes ease that allow slaughter rates to increase.

National kill volumes have steadily increased this year, from 116,113 head for the week ending 19 January to 142,162 for the week ending 31 May. The slaughter rate in the last week of May was 22pc above the same week last year, according to Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) data.

North Australia processing plants have pushed up throughput with extra shifts on weekends in May, which is set to continue through June, according to Rural Bank's June Insights report. The onset of winter conditions in the south of the country has increased the number of cattle released for slaughter, putting downwards pressure on prices and raising processor margins. This is to see further growth in processing capacity throughout June in southern regions.

A couple of southern Queensland processors have said they are now adequately staffed with skilled labour across all parts of their abattoirs, consistently reaching weekly slaughter goals that they hope to increase as more cattle become available.

Migrant labour has typically come from backpackers and workers from the Pacific islands on a seasonal workers programme to work in Australian abattoirs. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw major travel restrictions imposed domestically and internationally, Australia's agricultural industry experienced reduced availability of workers, weighing on cattle slaughter volumes. Australia has had a post-pandemic immigration boom in the past year but concerns about housing shortages is leading to a tightening of visa regulations in the past few months.

The Australian cattle herd is forecast at 28.6mn head by 30 June 2024, according to MLA, down by 1pc from the previous year when three consecutive good weather years saw herd numbers hit highs last seen in 2014. This indicates that the cattle herd has entered a maintenance phase, with elevated sales driven by higher supplies rather than producer destocking.


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24/07/24

Feedstock imports shake up US biofuel production

Feedstock imports shake up US biofuel production

New York, 24 July (Argus) — Waste from around the world is increasingly being diverted to the US for biofuel production, helping decarbonize hard-to-electrify sectors like trucking and aviation. But as refiners turn away from conventional crop-based feedstocks, farm groups fear missing out on the biofuels boom. Driven by low-carbon fuel standards (LCFS) in states like California, US renewable diesel production capacity has more than doubled over the last two years to hit a record high of 4.1bn USG/yr in April according to the Energy Information Administration. Soybean and canola processors have invested in expanding crush capacity, expecting future biofuels growth to lift vegetable oil demand. But policymakers' growing focus on carbon intensity, a departure from the long-running federal renewable fuel standard (RFS) that sets volume mandates for broad types of fuel, primarily benefits waste feedstocks, which generate larger LCFS credits because they are assessed as producing fewer emissions. Argonne National Laboratory's GREET emissions model, which has been modified by federal and California regulators for clean fuels programs, factors in emissions sources like fertilizers and diesel use on farms for virgin vegetable oils but not for used oils sourced from cooking operations. Refiners trying to maximize government subsidies are thus sourcing waste-based feedstocks from wherever they can find them. Through May this year, imports to the US under the tariff code that includes used cooking oil (UCO) and yellow grease rose 90pc from year-prior levels to more than 1.8bn lb (844,000t). While China represents most of that, sources are diverse, with significant sums coming from Canada, the UK, and Indonesia. Imports of inedible and technical tallow, waste beef fat that can be turned into biofuels, have also risen 50pc so far this year to 800,000lb on ample supply from Brazil. While soybean oil was responsible for nearly half of biomass-based diesel production in 2021, that share has declined to around a third over the first four months this year as imports surge (see graph). "Every pound of imported feedstock that comes in displaces one pound of domestically sourced soybean oil or five pounds of soybeans," said Kailee Tkacz Buller, chief executive of the National Oilseed Processors Association. Even as LCFS and RFS credit prices have fallen over the last year, hurting biofuel production margins and threatening capacity additions , imports have not slowed. Feedstock suppliers, many from countries with less mature biofuel incentives and limited biorefining capacity, might have few options domestically. And exporting to the US means they can avoid the EU's more prescriptive feedstock limits and mounting scrutiny of biofuel imports. More ambitious targets in future years, particularly for sustainable aviation fuel, "will create a lot of competition for UCO in the global market," said Jane O'Malley, a researcher at the International Council on Clean Transportation. But for now, "the US has created the most lucrative market for waste-based biofuel pathways." Incentives for US refiners to use waste-based feedstocks will only become stronger next year when expiring tax credits are replaced by the Inflation Reduction Act's 45Z credit, structured as a sliding scale so that fuels generate more of a subsidy as they produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions. While essentially all fuel will receive less of a benefit than in past years since the maximum credit is reserved for carbon-neutral fuels, the drop in benefits will be most pronounced for fuels from vegetable oils. Granted, President Joe Biden's administration wants the 45Z credit to account for the benefits of "climate-smart" agriculture, potentially helping close some of the assessed emissions gap between crop and waste feedstocks. But the administration's timeline for issuing guidance is unclear, leaving the market with little clarity about which practices farmers should start deploying and documenting. "While a tax credit can be retroactive, you can't retroactively farm," said Alexa Combelic, director of government affairs at the American Soybean Association. Squeaky wheel gets the soybean oil The concerns of agricultural groups have not gone unnoticed in Washington, DC, where lawmakers from both parties have recently called for higher biofuel blending obligations, prompt 45Z guidance, and more transparency around how federal agencies scrutinize UCO imports. There are also lobbying opportunities in California, where regulators are weighing LCFS updates ahead of a planned hearing in November. At minimum, agricultural groups are likely to continue pushing for more visibility into the UCO supply chain, which could take the form of upping already-burdensome recordkeeping requirements for clean fuels incentives and setting a larger role for auditors. Fraud would be hard to prove, but two external groups told Argus that the Biden administration has indicated that it is looking into UCO collection rates in some countries, which could at least point to potential discrepancies with expected supply. More muscular interventions, including trade disincentives, are also possible. Multiple farm associations, including corn interests frustrated that the country's first alcohol-to-jet facility is using Brazilian sugarcane ethanol , have asked the Biden administration to prevent fuels derived from foreign feedstocks from qualifying for 45Z. The possible return of former president Donald Trump to the White House next year would likely mean sharply higher tariffs on China too, potentially stemming the flow of feedstocks from that country — if not from the many others shipping waste-based feedstocks to the US. Protectionism has obvious risks, since leaving refiners with fewer feedstock options could jeopardize planned biofuel capacity additions that ultimately benefit farmers. But at least some US agriculture companies, insistent that they can sustainably increase feedstock production if incentives allow, see major changes to current policy as necessary. By Cole Martin Waste imports crowd out soybean oil Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Bipartisan bill would extend blenders tax credit


23/07/24
23/07/24

Bipartisan bill would extend blenders tax credit

New York, 23 July (Argus) — A bipartisan group of lawmakers has proposed legislation to extend an expiring tax credit for biodiesel and renewable diesel that are blended into the US fuel supply. The bill, which was introduced by representative Mike Carey (R-Ohio) and is pending before the House of Representatives' Ways and Means Committee, would specifically extend a credit offering $1/USG for blenders of biomass-based diesel through 2025. The credit is otherwise set to expire at the end of this year and be replaced in January by the Inflation Reduction Act's 45Z credit, which will be more generous to fuels with lower carbon intensities. The text of the bill has not yet been released. But a draft version shared with Argus by an external group would restrict fuel that is "allowed" a credit under 45Z from also qualifying for the reinstated credit for blenders, a provision that seems to primarily benefit fuel imports. The expiring biodiesel credit allows fuel produced outside the US to qualify, since the credit is claimed by blenders instead of producers, while the new 45Z credit is specifically for refiners producing fuel in the US. The US administration's timeline for finalizing guidance around 45Z is unclear, to the frustration of biofuels groups that have warned that prolonged uncertainty could jeopardize planned investments aimed at boosting production and feedstock supply. An extension of the existing biodiesel credit could potentially provide more certainty to the biofuels supply chain. Fuel retailers that had previously warned that shifting the credit from blenders to producers will raise fuel prices for consumers, including the National Association of Truck Stop Owners and the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America, commended Carey's proposal. But the tax credit extension would also upend other incentives driving biofuel production. The 45Z credit offers up to $1/USG for road fuels, but incentives are more generous the fewer greenhouse gas emissions a fuel produces, whereas the expiring credit does not adjust benefits based on carbon intensity. In addition, prolonging incentives to import fuels could hurt domestic producers and lead to wider biodiesel and renewable diesel availability, potentially weighing on prices of renewable identification number (RIN) credits that refiners submit to regulators to comply with the renewable fuel standard. Market participants have generally expected that prices for RINs, which also act as a source of revenue and incentive to produce low-carbon fuels, will rise next year to account for 45Z providing less of a subsidy than the expiring credit. Clean Fuels Alliance America, which represents biomass-based diesel and sustainable aviation fuel companies, declined to comment or take a position on the legislation. But the group said that it would continue advocating for President Joe Biden's administration to swiftly propose and finalize 45Z guidance. The bill currently has four sponsors, three Republicans and one Democrat, but it is tough to gauge how broad support for any credit extension would be within Congress. It is not uncommon for Congress to pass legislation near the end of the year extending or reinstating tax credits that would have otherwise expired, and various energy tax credits were extended in Congress' lame duck session after the 2020 presidential election. By Cole Martin Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

US House passes waterways bill


23/07/24
23/07/24

US House passes waterways bill

Houston, 23 July (Argus) — The US House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a bill on Monday authorizing the US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to tackle a dozen port, inland waterway and other water infrastructure projects. The Republican-led House voted 359-13 to pass the Waterways Resources Development Act (WRDA), which authorizes the Corps to proceed with plans to upgrade the Seagirt Loop Channel near Baltimore Harbor in Maryland. The bill also will enable the Corps to move forward with 160 feasibility studies, including a $314mn resiliency study of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, which connects ports along the Gulf of Mexico from St Marks, Florida, to Brownsville, Texas. Water project authorization bills typically are passed every two years and generally garner strong bipartisan support because they affect numerous congressional districts. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee unanimously passed its own version of the bill on 22 May. That bill does not include an adjustment to the cost-sharing structure for lock and dam construction and other rehabilitation projects. The Senate's version is expected to reach the floor before 2 August, before lawmakers break for their August recess. The Senate is not scheduled to reconvene until 9 September. If the Senate does not pass an identical version of the bill, lawmakers will have to meet in a conference committee to work out the differences. WRDA is "our legislative commitment to investing in and protecting our communities from flooding and droughts, restoring our environment and ecosystems and keeping our nation's competitiveness by supporting out ports and harbors", representative Grace Napolitano (D-California) said. By Meghan Yoyotte Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Логистика сухих грузов - Союз экспортеров зерна: есть возможности для роста


23/07/24
23/07/24

Логистика сухих грузов - Союз экспортеров зерна: есть возможности для роста

Moscow, 23 July (Argus) — География отгрузок российского зерна заметно расширилась за минувший год благодаря росту платежеспособного спроса в странах Азии и Латинской Америки. Но приоритетными рынками сбыта остаются страны Ближнего Востока и Северной Африки. О перспективах и вызовах, стоящих перед торговыми компаниями в новом сезоне, рассказал Argus председатель правления Союза экспортеров зерна Эдуард Зернин. — Как вы оцениваете экспорт зерновых по итогам прошедшего сезона? — Сезон 2023/2024 стал яркой страницей в истории российского зернового экспорта. Мы поставили новый рекорд, отгрузив без малого 70 млн т, примерно на 17% больше, чем годом ранее. Ни скрытые санкционные барьеры, ни уход международных торговых компаний, ни ограничения логистической инфраструктуры не смогли помешать нам реализовать наши планы. Мировой спрос на российскую зерновую продукцию был на высоком уровне, нам удалось убедить регулятора — Минсельхоз России — увеличить объем квоты на 5 млн т, которые также были выбраны почти полностью. То есть наша оценка мирового спроса на российское зерно оказалась достаточно точной. — Были ли заметные изменения объемов экспорта отдельных видов продукции, а также среди стран-импортеров? — Значительно, на 85%, вырос экспорт ячменя, закупки которого увеличили Саудовская Аравия, Ливия и Китай. Турция за счет объемов закупки кукурузы утвердилась в статусе крупнейшего потребителя российского зерна, несмотря на заметное снижение в импорте продовольственной пшеницы, где страна уступила первое место Египту. Иран оказался в пятерке лидеров только благодаря закупкам российских фуражных культур. В то же время все эти рейтинги не более чем развлечение для праздной публики. Для самих экспортеров ключевое значение имеет платежеспособный спрос. И сейчас мы видим его рост в странах Азии и Латинской Америки. Происходит серьезная диверсификация географии нашего сбыта, это стало отличительной особенностью сезона 2023/24. — Рост транспортных расходов повлиял на объемы отгрузок? — Затраты на логистику полностью учитываются в наших ценах на базисах портов наших покупателей. Если они принимали наши цены, значит их устраивали наши затраты. А учитывая рекордные объемы отгрузки на экспорт, нам не стоит жаловаться на логистические издержки. Проблем с логистикой нет, есть новые инвестиционные возможности. Российский агропромышленный комплекс показал новый уровень потенциала производства базовых сельскохозяйственных культур. Мы исходим из того, что рекорды последних сезонов, как по урожаю, так и по экспорту, будут превышены в горизонте ближайших пяти лет, классического срока севооборота. У нас есть время и возможности повысить инвестиции в инфраструктуру и достойно встретить новый рекордный урожай. — Насколько востребовано сейчас северо-западное направление — Высоцк и морские терминалы Прибалтики? — Все зависит от объемов и темпов экспорта в каждом сезоне. Вряд ли порты северо-запада будут когда-нибудь играть ключевую роль для экспорта российского зерна, но быть базисом отгрузки для некоторых направлений зернового экспорта им вполне по силам. — Как обстоят дела с трансграничными взаиморасчетами? — Проблема расчетов была и остается ключевой. Мы прогнозируем и уже видим дальнейшее ухудшение ситуации, несмотря на все возможные официальные исключения (генеральные лицензии) из санкций и даже усилия ООН. Эти проблемы носят рукотворный и абсолютно осознанный характер. Их создатели действуют по узким шаблонам, они хотят наказать не только российских фермеров и экспортеров сельхозпродукции, но и наших потребителей. Им безразличны проблемы мирового голода. Ситуация с ростом голода в Нигерии — самый яркий пример завершившегося сезона. При всех успехах нигерийской экономики страна первой преодолела планку в 100 млн голодающих. Вместе с тем банки страны отказываются проводить платежи за российскую сельхозпродукцию, а реальных альтернатив нашим поставкам просто нет. Международные организации, ответственные за борьбу с мировым голодом, делают вид что ничего не происходит. Эта аморальная ситуация полностью лежит на совести инициаторов проблемы с расчетами. — Какие направления поставок и рынки сбыта вы считаете наиболее перспективными — как в наступившем сезоне, так и в ближайшие годы? Какие возможные риски и сдерживающие факторы вы видите? — Главным и приоритетным рынком сбыта для нас был и останется регион MENA (Middle East and North Africa — Ближний Восток и Северная Африка). Это рынок, где наши географические преимущества реализуются максимально эффективно. Мы высоко ценим лояльность наших партнеров и готовы к острой конкуренции на данном направлении. А ключевой проблемой был и остается вопрос расчетов за российскую сельхозпродукцию — это будет главным сдерживающим фактором нового сезона. — Какие планы на наступивший сезон? — Минсельхоз России обозначил экспортный потенциал сезона 2024/25 на уровне 60 млн т зерна. В новом сезоне, учитывая снижение оценки российского экспортного потенциала на 10 млн т зерна, мы с большой вероятностью сузим географию сбыта и сосредоточимся на направлениях с серьезной глубиной спроса. Возможно, нам придется отказаться от некоторых низкорентабельных направлений, но потребности наших ключевых партнеров будут удовлетворены в полном объеме. Эдуард Зернин Родился в 1971 г. Окончил Академию бюджета и казначейства Министерства финансов России, Самарскую государственную сельскохозяйственную академию и Школу бизнеса Чикагского университета (Chicago Booth). Трудовую деятельность начал в 1993 г. на рынке инвестиционно-банковских услуг, принимал активное участие в создании российского рынка корпоративных облигаций, участвовал в проектах в сфере корпоративной реструктуризации и развития бизнеса. В 2011 г. возглавил совет директоров компании БИО-ТОН, которая под его руководством стала крупнейшим производителем подсолнечника в России. В мае 2019 г. назначен исполнительным директором Союза экспортеров зерна, а в сентябре того же года — председателем правления организации. Союз экспортеров зерна Создан в апреле 2019 г. Объединяет 29 ведущих экспортеров страны, на долю которых приходится около 80% экспорта зерновых. Среди участников: Объединенная зерновая компания, Грейн Гейтс, Родные поля (ранее — Торговый дом Риф), Астон, МЗК Экспорт, Деметра Холдинг и другие. Константин Мозговой Вы можете присылать комментарии по адресу или запросить дополнительную информацию feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Группа Argus Media . Все права защищены.

US House to vote on waterways bill


22/07/24
22/07/24

US House to vote on waterways bill

Houston, 22 July (Argus) — The US House of Representatives is expected to vote on 22 July on a waterways bill that would authorize new infrastructure projects across ports and rivers. The Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) is renewed typically every two years to authorize projects for the US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps). The bipartisan bill is sponsored by representative Rick Larsen (D-Washington) and committee chairman Sam Graves (R-Missouri). The full committee markup occurred 26 June, where amendments were added, and the bill was passed to the full House . A conference committee will need to be called to resolve the different versions of the bill. The major difference between the bills is that the House bill does not include an adjustment to the cost-sharing structure for the lock and dam construction and other rehabilitation projects. The Senate Committee on Environment Public Works passed its own version of the bill on 22 May, with all members in favor of the bill. The House version of the bill approves modifications to the Seagirt Loop Channel near the Baltimore Harbor in Maryland, along with 11 other projects and 160 feasibility studies. One of these studies is a $314.25mn resiliency study of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, which connects ports along the Gulf of Mexico from St Marks, Florida, to Brownsville, Texas. By Meghan Yoyotte Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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