Tour hits South American grains heartland | Rabobank AU
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Rabobank tour hits the South American grains heartland

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Across Argentina and Brazil, a progressive group of Australian farmers gained invaluable insights into the increasingly competitive global grains market from leading growers and supply chain partners during Rabobank’s unique South American Grains Tour in September.

After an official launch in Buenos Aires, the study group began their travels through the Argentine grains heartland with a 300 km journey to Rosario. They spent the morning at Bolsa de Comercio de Rosario, learning about the structure, key functions and services of the Rosario Board of Trade and the Rosario Grain Cash Market.

In the afternoon, a tour of the local river port and grain loading facilities by boat was followed by a visit to plant breeders, Bioceres, where the focus was on drought tolerant wheat and soybean developments.

Rabobank Ballarat Branch Manager, Darrin Findlay, who accompanied the tour group, described it as “a great day discussing trade markets and governance, testing, logistics and looking to the future”.

The group spent the next day on-farm at La Barrancosa, run by the multi-generational Facht family who shared their clear mission, vision and objectives, as well as their farming methods and production history.

The next day was even bigger, beginning in Christophersen with a visit to Adecco Agro, who produce grain and oilseeds, dairy, sugar and ethanol, and own 246,000 hectares across Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. Their strategic goals are based around asset acquisition, overall low COP of food, renewable energy and to be carbon neutral.

From there, the group made their way to LIAG in Vedia - a cropping business with 60,000 hectares across Buenos Aires, Cordoba and Salt provinces, owned by Australian-based ag investors, the Kahlbertzer family. With 300,00T of wheat, soybean, corn, cotton, seed, chickpeas and lentils produced annually, their current risk management is built around their geographical location and crop diversity.

The next day, the tour group headed to the Born family’s Caldenes farm near Canada Seca, which gave them insight into cattle production and why this sector is a quintessential part of Argentine agriculture. One of the highlights was attending the Caldenes annual cattle sale with a magnificent luncheon with 900 people including buyers, the local community of neighbours and workers. During their time on the farm, they were also given the opportunity to get into the farm’s wheat and corn fields, check out planting equipment and hear about the family’s concerns for the economy, opportunities and sustainability.

The Argentina leg of the tour, concluded with a day in Rio Cuarto at Bio4 – an ethanol production facility established and operated by 28 local farmers with the aim to value add corn and reap the benefits of the country’s supportive ethanol policies.  This was followed by a journey back to Buenos Aires before the group headed to Molinos Rio de la Plata Luchetti Milling in Pilar for a tour of their pasta plant.

Moving on to Brazil, the study tour focused on the powerhouse state of Brazilian grains and oilseed production, Mato Grosso.

It included farm visits to Daltrozo Farm – a family partnership growing cotton soybean and corn, which also includes a 900+ head cattle feedlot – and Modela Farm, a cotton, corn and soybean operation.

The group also made the most of the opportunity to visit Cargill's Primavera da Leste soybean crushing operations which helped to emphasise the importance of soybeans to the Mato Gorsso state and indeed Brazil.

An initiative of Rabobank Australia’s Grains CSG, this tour was developed with the support of the Knowledge & Networks, RaboResearch and Marketing teams, as well as Rabobank colleagues in South America.

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