Despite COVID-19 conditions restricting travel, the annual spring Western Australian noodle wheat industry consultations with the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries MAFF, and Japan Flour Millers Association JFMA took place virtually recently with the Australian Export Grain Innovation Centre AEGIC, CBH and the Grain Industry Association of WA GIWA.
Both Japan and Australia sides were very positive about this high-trust grain industry dialogue moving smoothly to an on-line platform. Japan side has also made use of AEGIC’s new seasonal virtual crop inspections to track the Western Australian noodle wheat crop’s progress https://www.aegic.org.au/customers/2020-virtual-crop-inspections/
The Western Australian noodle wheat markets to Japan and Korea of approximately 1.9 million tonnes is worth around $650 million (5 year average), and is Western Australia’s premium customized high value wheat export market. Japan side has been happy with the new generation of ANW varieties such as Ninja, Kinsei, and Zen, produced in the past 5 – 7 years, bred to replace Calingiri which Wheat Quality Australia is retiring from the classification system at the 2022 harvest. Calingiri will still be deliverable into the feed stack in WA after the 2022 harvest.
However, for the past several years, Japan side has been raising the quality issue of ‘dockage’ in noodle wheat shipments.
Australia side has no equivalent tolerance in receival standards, but customer feedback around ‘dockage’ appears to be comprised of issues with:
- white heads
- weed seeds and
Japan side reports that these have been on the increase in the past several years, especially as ANW supply has been limited in tight seasons, leaving little flexibility for quality management.
With WA growers being at the frontline of quality management GIWA Wheat Council Chair Peter Rees (MarketAg Adviser) said: “Japan and Korea are premium wheat markets, it is important that the WA industry does what it can to supply a quality product. To help us in this aim we ask farmers who are harvesting now to do all they can to deliver noodle wheat that is as low in whiteheads and weed seeds as possible. Growers have told me that harvester setup can play a significant role in in the quality of the grain grower delivered. These actions will help protect this valuable market and show how responsive we as an industry can be to customer feedback.”