Duxton’s Agri Bits and Pieces – Vol. 365
Posted on: January 25th, 2018


The quote for this week is taken from the recently appointed Australian Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, David Littleproud. He was visiting several dairy farmers and a grain terminal in Victoria.

“I think Australian agriculture is in for a big year. There’s a lot to be positive about.”

The upcoming ABARES Outlook Conference should provide further insight into what expectations for 2018 hold. From what the Minister said, it is looking encouraging.


“A wide variety of food products could be made with dramatically lower sugar levels after an Australian technology firm secured a landmark partnership with two of the world’s leading food engineering companies and NSW sugar growers.

Nutrition Innovation Group, the brainchild of Sydney food scientist David Kannar, has developed a patented manufacturing process that delivers a healthier, low-GI industrial sugar known as Nucane that can be used by food manufacturers as a substitute for refined sugar.

Infrared technology with a proprietary algorithm developed by Nutrition Innovation allows the naturally occurring minerals found in cane sugar such as calcium, magnesium and potassium to be retained in the production process.

It produces 100 per cent cane sugar that has the same taste and texture as regular white sugar, but a significantly lower GI. The sugar has been certified as low-GI to the World Health Organisation’s standards.

“I can see us in Australia leading the way initially on this and the world following. This is all about ensuring the sustainability of our growers.” Chris Connors (Sunshine Sugar CEO) said.

Food scientist Dr Kunnar said “We additionally have customers in discussion or testing the product in Australia, Thailand, France, the US, the UK and Singapore … we can scale rapidly to any mill in the world that accepts the technology and has food grade sugar mills.””

Source: Kitney, Damon. The Australian, 15 January 2018.


“California-based Bluefield Technologies Ltd. plans to launch a fleet of satellites that can detect methane emissions. The company hopes to launch two small satellites equipped with the sensors in 2019 and eventually have a fleet of 20 to cover the world.

Microbes in a cow’s stomach produce methane as they break down food, which is then released in manure, burps and flatulence. Measuring levels of the gas can indicate the size of herds in areas where shelters block visual checks, such as dairy farms or feedlots, said Yotam Ariel, Bluefield’s founder and chief executive officer. Such data can offer near real-time insight into fundamentals affecting cattle prices, as well as feed crops such as corn and soy, Ariel said.

Cattle futures are the most heavily traded livestock derivative on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, with open interest of about 350,000 contracts, and government reports on herd size can swing prices.

[Data from satellites] can help traders and analysts spot trends weeks or months before they become apparent when traditional economic and output figures are released.” Source: Murtaugh, Dan. Bloomberg, 9 January 2018.


The chart below indicates the expected changes in sugar consumption trends globally going into 2018. There is steady growth in developing markets where a burgeoning middle class pushes up consumption. In more developed economies there is trend away from sugar, however, the net effect is positive growth in consumption overall.

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