India lived up to everything I expected and more. What an amazing country with its friendly people, rich culture and dense population. I flew in at 2:30am and after clearing customs and dropping my bags at the airport, it was straight to the Taj Mahal. An amazing site and something on the bucket list ticked off. The masonry work is incredible and the size and spirituality it possesses was quite impressive.

photo 1 photo 1  photo 3

The following day I traveled to Ludhiana by bus, 6.5 hours. However the bus was like traveling first class. There is the budget ‘sit on the roof’ option all the way through to the most luxurious.

The following day I met my contact Malwinder Singh Malhi who works for Syngenta and has a lot to do with Nuffield Australia. A very accommodating man, he had organized a complete schedule for the day, drove me around and met some very impressive individuals and ventures.

First stop was Punjab Agricultural University where I met with Directors and heads of faculties to discuss rice straw management. The Indian government has outlined plans to suspend burning of rice paddy and straw and so the universities have been working very hard to look to alternative measures. With an average yield of just under 4 tonne per hectare, due to the double cropping system, the rice straw continues to present as a problem.

The research had uncovered some key options that are been further investigated and of which some are running as a commercial enterprise.

  • Biomass plants: burning vegetative waste, particularly rice straw, converting to electricity
  • Incorporation: Management practices are been investigated to try and utilize the nutrient within the straw and advancements in mechanization are been investigated.
  • Mulching: this has seen some effects with the straw left in the field and sown through with the ‘Happy seeder’ machine
  • Biogas: paddy straw and enzymes combined to ferment, resulting in LPG gas
  • Composting: investigation of removal of straw and operating a composting business off site, adding other fertilisers and products to then re-apply to the fields as the winter crop is growing.
  • Fungicide application: applying enzyme rich solutions and fungicides to accelerate the break down process

We also discussed some of the issues facing Agriculture in India, particularly the region I was in, Punjab. Groundwater depletion is of a major concern with no restrictions in place as well as nutrient availability and access to markets as a few. Breeding and variety selection are a key element of the universities in looking for shorter season varieties and dwarf varieties to eliminate some of these issues.

From there we visited a research site ran by Dr Sarbjit Singh Sooch, which had a fully functioning Biogas prototype. 1 tonne of paddy straw would produce 80kg of Biogas similar to LPG per month for 4 months. Although a trial, there were working plants at some locations using 100 tonne at a time, running dairy operations. Cow dung is added as a cheap source of enzyme and microbes. I saw the gas burning which was clean and had zero smell. Quite impressive.

photo 3 photo 2

We then visited a biomass plant converting 100% rice straw to electricity, or so they claimed. This was my thought of the ‘silver bullet’ solution but unfortunately upon visiting the plant, it became apparent this was not the case. In talking with other scientist and people in the industry in India, these types of plants are putting on a brave face. There is terrific potential however, but it is a matter of combining some new technology to fully utilize this system. One of the main issues faced by the plant was logistics in acquiring straw. A system I viewed in England would fit well into an Australian system as opposed to the Indian system where they are 1 acre blocks and use small square bales and the roads are very difficult to move around on. Still advancements are necessary to optimize this type of operation.

photo 4photo 4photo 1

I was then lucky enough to accompany Malwinder to a grower group meeting involving around 15 local farmers. As Malwinder works for Syngenta, he is discussing chemical applications to the local farmers but has also been heavily involved in experimental stations looking at best management practice, achieving high yielding results while also reducing inputs. These techniques are been rapidly adopted by the farmers, it is impressive to see.

photo 4 photo 3photo 1 photo 2

The following day I traveled to Amritsar in the north of Punjab to visit Dr B.S. Chadha from Guru Nanak University. Dr Chadha works in the department of Microbiology and for the last few years have been looking into extraction to value add with rice straw. Essentially, high value extraction occurs early in a process, leaving the rest to be utilized in biogas. This advancement looked extremely promising to me and although this was not occurring on a commercial scale as yet, the research suggests it may be possible and it provides solutions to the problems faced by other methods.

From there I quickly visited the Golden Temple, such a beautiful, spiritual place.

photo 4

I then headed back towards Ludhiana but stopped on the way to drop in on the ‘Potato Prince’ of India, Mr. Jang Sangha. Jang also grows rice as a summer crop and was extremely good to me and is a very knowledgeable person. Having been educated both in India and the USA, his understanding and philosophy of the broader issues facing not only agriculture in India but around the world were brilliant to discuss. I also quickly toured his workshop and office and was very impressed with the scale and detail his operation runs at.

From there, headed back to Ludhiana where I had dinner with Malwinder and Mr. Pangli who presented me with an honorary Borlaug Farmers Association membership, named after the famous plant breeder and Nobel Prize winner Norman Borlaug, famous as the ‘Father of the Green Revolution’. I was quite honored.

photo 5

India had been truly amazing and one of the great highlights of this journey so far.


Egypt and Turkey

From Reims in France I traveled to Cairo, Egypt via Frankfurt, Germany. Landed at 2:30am and met the driver from the airport. After about 30 minutes into the 45 minute trip, had a definite ‘what have I got myself into here’ moment which continued all the way to the hotel and on and off for the next few days.


I was staying in Gaza, the city on the west side of the river Nile from Cairo, essentially the same city just divide by the river. It is interesting to say the least. The footpaths and roads were littered with rubbish, including a couple of partly decomposing Brahman steers that had fallen off the back of a truck or been hit, having mangled legs. They were a couple of hundred meters up the road from the pyramids, in full view of tourists. There wasn’t a lot of tourists.


Despite all this, the people themselves (so long as they weren’t trying to scam money out of you) were lovely and very helpful. There are obvious political difficulties with the country and in talking to the locals, it seemed the parties in power had neither the resources nor the plan on how to rule the country. They knew they wanted to but not sure how to go about it. Despite all this it was a trip well worthwhile.


While in Gaza, I had one of the most productive and insightful meetings so far on my Nuffield travels. I met with Dr Amr Helal, Managing Director of Rice ‘n’ Care’ and previously involved with the Egyptian Chamber of Industry and Engineering. Dr Helal and his company value add on waste products, particularly with rice. He has a research background and through his skills has been able to stabalise extracts from the rice bran and refine them to products for pharmaceuticals, natural dietary medicines and cosmetic additives for anti aging. As his company value adds, he is looking at returns for rice bran of around $220,000 AUD a tonne for the extracted product and significantly more fully refined product. As an example, a fully marketed product sells for around $8/12 gram container.


Dr Helal had also conducted research and founded companies and copyrights for things such as Biochar plants, Aquaboard (similar to MDF) and animal feed additives. In discussing straw itself as a solution, Dr Helal thought the best simple solution was Biochar but a bioenergy plant was also conceivable. The transport of the straw provides the same challenge in Egypt as it does in Australia.


Of Egypt 8 million tonne average paddy crop, individual farmers retain approximately half and multiple company’s competing for value mills the rest.


I also spent a morning touring the great pyramids. They are truly amazing and quite breathtaking to see up close. The mangy dogs and ripoff merchants running all over the area I wasn’t so fond of.

photo 4 photo 3 photo 2 photo 1

I then traveled to Turkey to a place called Edirne, 5 kilometers from the Greek border and 20 km from the Bulgarian border. There I met Assistant Professor Dr Necmi Beser from Trakya University. Dr Necmi explained the significant increase in yields in Turkey thanks to breeding advancements and quick farmer adaption. Yields almost doubled from 4.5 tonnes to 9 tonnes over a 12 year period, taking rice from a low profitable crop to a high return crop. Turkey is now the third highest yielding country of rice in the world behind Australia and Egypt.


With this increase in yield came added straw management pressures. Despite the high yields, the straw is cut low and chopped out the back of the header. The high rainfall during winter of 600mm allows decomposition to occur and plowing a couple of months from seeding the following year ensure the stubble is broken down enough to not cause 1 photo 2 photo 3 photo 4

England and France

After NYC, we flew into Heathrow. From there we headed straight to Cambridge for a couple of nights. Cambridge is a beautiful historic city and we took the chance to view some of the architecture, college grounds and restaurants.

photo 1 photo 2

We also visited farmers markets keen to look at what produce they sell and how much of the produce has come from farm, or farms around them and how much is niche commercial products. One market we visited had a great initiative to get people in the front gate, a maize maze. They had been running for a few years and was quite well known.

photo 3

Just north of Cambridge is a biomass power plant at Ely, burning 200,000 tonnes of predominately wheat straw, generating 38 MW. This was of interest for my project and although they are not burning rice straw, it was interesting to look into the operation to discover the viability of such a plant. A sister company Anglian Straw purchases straw from farmers for approximately 40 pound per tonne. Straw is collected from a radius of around 50 miles as any further becomes no longer viable as freight becomes too great and the required straw can be sourced from within that radius. Unfortunately the plant was in a 2 week maintenance schedule so could not be seen running.

photo 5Untitled

There is also another such plant in Seaford, North of Ely that will now be operational. The subsidies and government grants received by these plants from the government are substantial enough to make them viable. It questions why Ely was built at the turn of the century and it took so long to build other plants. To add to this these plants are not seen across countries not relying on government subsidies. It brings into question the viability of such an operation. Reports however read to the contrary and straw plants in England seem to stand alone to a point.

From there we headed to catch up fellow Nuffielder Ali Capper and her family on their beautiful apple and hop’s farm near Suckley in Worcestershire. Although not completely relevant to my subject, the innovation and trialing of both the apple and hop operation was quite impressive. Across any agricultural industry it is great to see this type of operation and things can be learnt from such innovation such as fertilizer application techniques, maintenance and even staff management. It certainly was an impressive operation.

.photo 5 photo(9)

While there we were lucky enough to meet up with Rach’s Godparents, Penny and Mark Young from Coleambally and on the way out for dinner one evening, we were lucky enough to come across a dog trial in a random field. The locals were ecstatic to have international guests and we were told we would make the newsletter. They also had a beer tent which worked well. We just made our dinner reservation but could have stayed there all night. One of the highlights of the trip!10567558_751841348188654_1064577113_n photo 2

glad this was not the hire car!!

photo 1

We then headed to Andy Williamson’s farm, a fellow Nuffielder from Bridgnorth. Andy, along with his family run a cropping operation growing mainly wheat, barley and canola. After a fantastic dinner the first night, Andy gave us the full tour of the farm. He explained some of the issues they are coming up against with regulations, much stricter than at home, but he ran a very tidy operation and his agronomy was spot on. He was half way through harvest and the crops looked amazing. An interesting thing I learnt from Andy is by inoculating the crops, the straw seems to break up and decompose quicker. Something I will investigate further.

photo 3 photo 4

From there we headed to London, staying at the Farmers Club. We met up with travel hardened Guy Hebblewhite before he flew home, having completed his travels. We also took time to relax and check out London visiting the sights and restaurants. One of the highlights was definitely the Churchill War Rooms, on recommendation from Tim Fisher. If you are ever in London it is a must see! The insight not only into Churchill but the conduction of the war and the toll on London was fascinating yet horrifying to view through this exhibition. One of my favorite quotes to come from the exhibition was “It was in every way an excellent battle headquarters, with only one fault, namely its proximity to Winston!” – General Sir Alan Brooke, Chief of Imperial General Staff. Churchill was referred to as harsh but fair! Another equal highlight was seeing the Poms get done in a game they should have won on the 5th day at the home of cricket – Lords. Good job India!

photo 3 photo 1  photo 4

From London, we caught the train (just) across to France to catch up with another Nuffielder, Thaubid Brocard in the Champagne region of France. We stayed with Thaubid for a couple of nights, living the good life, meeting his friends, drinking Champagne and learning about the wine country. The price of land is worth over 1 million Euro an acre and is constantly increasing due to the corporate investment. Who wouldn’t want a vineyard in Champagne! Thaubid runs his operation on new methodology and agronomic techniques, focusing on minimal chemical and pesticide application. Instead of the standard 15 sprays a season, he has his operation down to 7, all going well. Like the other Nuffielders we visited, he is constantly looking for new methods and techniques to improve in what is a very traditional area. It is also fantastic to see a young, enthusiastic farmer taking full control of the farm and taking it from strength to strength! He works hard but the rewards look to be coming.

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 photo 4

From there we headed to Paris for a days shopping before Rach headed home, back to work and I ventured on to the remainder of my studies through Egypt, Turkey, India and the Philippines before returning home.





Rice in California

As part of my Nuffield travels, My Girlfriend Rachel Kelly and I traveled to Sacramento, California to learn about the ice industry in California, particularly the methods they impose to manage their stubble load.

Due to restrictions on burning introduced by the government in 1991, only 25% of stubble’s can be burned, and this can only be done if it can be proved there is a weed or pest issue the farmer is addressing. Of course, 25% of stubble is burned as a rule. Still the most cost effective method available.

Of the remaining unburnt area, less than 3% of the stubble is utilized in some other manner than reincorporating into the soil. The method used here is a bit different to at home. After harvest, the fields are re-flooded and a steel wheel tractor runs over the straw, mashing it into the soil, advancing the breaking down process, ready for next years planting. It should be noted that in California, a rice farmer is generally a dedicated rice farmer and does not rotate crops so land is continuously cropped. This has lead to a huge weed pressure and with restrictions on herbicides available, it is proving quite a challenge for the Californian growers.

I estimate this would use approximately 2 megalitres of water, and so is not a viable solution in Australia due to the high water prices. It does however create an environment for migratory birds that help with the process of breaking down the straw.

We did discover some unique methods of dealing with straw however that seemed to be something we could learn from and adapt in Australia. Firstly we traveled to Yuba city to meet Glenn Nadar, Livestock and Natural Resources Advisor, with the University of California. Glenn had been researching straw as a feed source for the last 30 years and recently had discovered it is the moisture content of the straw and timing of baling after harvest that is critical to creating a product that is inviting and of nutritional benefit to animals.

Instead of straw been baled and left, it was stacked and covered, similar to silage, reducing the available oxygen. Strawlage was baled and stacked at moisture content between 45-65%. This is the critical factor for the successful breakdown.

By adding a small amount of commercial product such as Hay-saver ($12.4/t) the feed value of the ‘strawlage’ was that of low quality lucerne. The end product did not look fantastic but the cows seemed to love it and Dairy operators were using the product as a viable feed source, not just roughage.

strawlageAnother method that i found quite interesting was selling rice straw to the US department of Agriculture for forestry management after Bushfires. Rice straw had a couple of clear advantages over cereal straw. Firstly it took longer to break down and secondly, it had no contamination of weeds likely to grow in the national park due to its aquatic environment. This was insured by not baling the outside run in a bay, eliminating possible contamination from the weeds on the bank. An interesting venture but also highly opportunistic.

Other methods I heard about was rice straw coffins as they were fully degradable, building insulation, work site drainage maintenance and mushroom production.

We were also lucky enough to get a tour of Sunfoods, thanks to Noel Graham at Sunrise. Sunfoods is partly owned by Sunrice, a strategic move during the drought and one that definitely paid off. Plant Manager Clyde Uchida showed us round the plant, as well as a farm tour and lunch. We certainly received the Californian hospitality. The mill is a medium sized mill, is low on production this year as every mill is due to the drought but seems to be running well.They even had some Australian Koshakari rice there as a sample.

photo 1 photo 2photo 3

Stopped in on the way home at a dealership. You can tell Rach is impressed with the Red beast!

photo 4The next day, we went to the Californian Co-operative Rice Research Foundation experimental station. Here we met Kent McKenzie, who gave us the full tour. The main variety grown in California is Calrose, of which some Australian varieties were derived from. Kent was very quick to point this out. They were also experimenting with Koshakari and were having the same troubles Australian growers were having with lodging.

Weed issues were a big issue with the constant rotation of rice. the research station has permission to burn their stubble so they burn all the straw every year. It is not something they are researching at this point in time.

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3

Afterwards we drove up to one of the reservoirs. It showed just how little water was left for the season. As a result, some crops were been cut off. Already, 50% of the water once used for irrigation has been returned to the environment. There is alot we can learn from California. Some things they were a few years ahead, some a few years behind but overall, very similar to Australian Rice, ecosystem and political challenges

photo 4As the Californian rice is a direct competition with our markets, it was great to get a look at the whole system and we were very grateful for the people we met and the things we saw.

From California, we headed to New York to catch up with a good friend of mine, Andy Gabbo Brennan before heading on to England.




China: Kaifeng

Saturday 8th June:

Got up early in Kaifeng after a flight the previous evening and was met at the hotel by our 3 drivers. The driving is horrifying. The lines on the roads are guides only and I’m sure driving on the wrong side of the road does not translate to Chinese. We went to a couple of Mr. Zhao’s factories. He is the president and general manager of Kaifeng Maosheng Machinery Co. The company does a lot of different business including real estate, baked goods production, banking and machinery fabrication. We were most interested in the seed cleaning products he produces. The company is obviously doing very well and Ashley Fraser, 2012 scholar met us for our stay in Zheng Zhou and does a lot of business with Mr. Zhao.

20130608_131413The manufacturing was very20130608_132429 impressive. As we were about to leave, I asked Mr Suo, our guide if they have considered building harvesters seeing as they already manufacture all the internal workings of a header. He pointed to a header in the car park and explained they will strip it down, copy everything piece by piece and manufacture them. Patents obviously aren’t legally binding in China but the scale and effort they put in is very impressive.

We then went and saw a real farm that was harvesting wheat and sowing corn at the same time. Each farmer has around half a hectare and it is a real community feel. Farmers are poor in comparison to the rest of the population and their technology and innovation is well behind western farming practices. We also went and had a look at a garlic processing facility. Basically a heap of women on a cement floor sorting and bagging them out on the street. They were more interested in us than anything else. We are not something commonly seen in their part of the world.

That night we met Mr. Zhao and Mr. Suo for a banquet dinner. It was amazing food and the hospitality was second to none. The rice wine however, lets just say it left us with images we would rather forget!!



Sunday 9th June:


We woke up late after a fantastic night with our host Mr. Zhao in which the rice wine and our lack of experience sinking multiple shots of 54% alcohol led a few of us to been well and truly ‘Stitched up.’ The size of hospitality shown by our guests was nothing short of overwhelming. Ashley Fraser and his business dealings with Mr. Zhao helped our interaction and Emma’s translation helped bridge the gap and we all thoroughly enjoyed it, probably too much.

Photo 7-06-13 10 24 16 PM

We spent the day, minus one ‘wounded solider’ touring the ancient city of Kaifeng. The ancient town would best be described as a close comparison to the Eureka Stockade in Ballarat, with live performances and education pieces to aid in the education. Highlights included the cock fight, fire breathing, acrobatics and the monkey and sheep. The biggest highlight for me was meeting a young lady who came up to the group and just stood listening to us. We suspected she was another local wanting to take a photo of us, as most people have never seen a white person and are really interested in us. We said hello to her in Chinese and she replied in perfect English. She introduced herself as Julia (her English name) and asked us questions about where we were from, what we were doing in Zheng Zhou and then told us she had been learning English for 4 years and we were the first English speaking people she had ever met. It was quite a buzz for her and it was for us too.


That night we had another banquet with Mr. Zhao and his assistant Mr. Suo. He apologized for stitching us up and said we didn’t have to drink again tonight if we didn’t want to. Some didn’t but I still did despite it tasting like rocket fuel as a sign of respect. I can only hope we upheld the respect that our guests had shown us. Everyone was quiet and nervous but all ended up having a great time. We left in a lot better state than the night before with new friends for life and feeling very honored to have made such great contacts. Couple of us kicked on to a karaoke bar to get cultured, I belted out a couple, would have sounded like a cat been strangled!

China: Guangzhou

After transferring from our hotel and collecting breakfast which included a ham and cheese sandwich, dodgy apple, can of orange juice and 2 boiled eggs, we headed to the ferry to the mainland and after clearing customs took the opportunity on the 2 hour boat ride to catch some much needed zzzz’s!

After checking into the hotel in Guangzhou we had lunch with 2 members of Austrade, Kathy Chen and Yuling. They explained the role Austrade plays in facilitating import of produce and goods into Australia as well as explaining all the other facets they over such as education and manufacturing bot in terms of import and export.

Some of the issues they facilitate include encouraging open trade and trying to build complementary trading partners. A close relationship is very important in the Chinese culture and so they run a lot of workshops and also trade fairs to promote Australia.

We also learnt from them a bit about the farming sector including some farming issues similar to that of the rest of the worlds rural scenes. These include loss of the young generation to the cities for developing cities, Urban sprawl /smaller farms being bought up by other farmers or industries, Education for young people towards financial/business/economical management, not currently attractive not making money. Technologies are area where they are focusing on and see greater growth in relations between China and Australia.

We Also visited the Institute of Fruit Tree Research Guangdong Academy of Agricultural Science and were hosted by:

Dr Chun Yu Li: PhD Director

Ms Jin Yan

Mr Xiang Xu

A rundown of the institute is below:

2000 staff

40 Ha Research station.

They have won more than 100 research projects

Focusing on Banana Research, Litchi, Citrus, Logan, Pineapple and Mangos, eating  grapes & rare fruits

Recent study with banana germplasm development.

Exclusive new way of propagating out the new seedling which allowed farmers to improve establishment of their plantations.

Bananas yielding 90 t/Ha

New development in cultivars have been bred to be more persistence by about 20%

This has increased productive life of the Palms by 3 years so instead of having to rework a block after year 3 of its life it has been pushed out to at least year 6


All Banana plants ready for distribution

Matt Pooley, Steve Wilkins and Peter Kaylock discussing the fine points of plant genomes

Matt Pooley, Steve Wilkins and Peter Kaylock discussing the fine points of plant genomes


Our Nuffield group infront of Institute of Fruit Tree Research Guangdong Academy of Agricultural Science

Banana plants ready fro distribution to farmers

Banana plants ready fro distribution to farmers

China: 6th June

Fist thing we visited Jiangnan Fruit and vegetable market. This was my first experience of street food for breakfast and although it looked dodgy it tasted pretty good!! After asking to buy some grapes from a wholesaler and been told they will make me crook because they were grown in dirty water, a couple of us scholars bought a small box of strawberries, grown in China, unwashed. They tasted great and still not sick!

first 'street' food of the trip, tasted great

first ‘street’ food of the trip, tasted great

Strawberries that tasted good and didnt kill us!

Strawberries that tasted good and didnt kill us!

The Jiangnan Fruit and vegetable market covers 40 hectares and has hundreds of wholesalers. They have two sections, domestic and imported produce. It was interesting to see the difference with domestic not having any pallets and very old school with a lot of labor while imported goods were modernized a bit and I got the impression this would have been due to the advancements from the sellers overseas.

The market puts through over 13,000 tonnes of produce daily and runs every day of the week from 5am to 11 am. Australian and New Zealand cherries, apples and grapes are imported through this market and are sought after for premium market due to superior taste. Jiangnan Fruit and vegetable market controls 70 of the wholesale market in China and receives, trade and dispenses produce from every Provence in China. Imported wastage if the seas are calm is about 1% compared to domestic waste of between 3-5%

After the market we headed to Dongsheng farm vegetable processing facilities. We had lunch here and then headed to Yudefeng Guava farm which grew 20 hectares of Guava. Considering the average farm size is less then a hectare, this seemed very impressive. After some further probing we discovered the farm was a tax write off and the money side may not have been such an issue but all the same some of the nicest locals I have come across so far on the trip.

David Cook and friend

David Cook and friend

lunch at the farm..... yes that is a chook head!

lunch at the farm….. yes that is a chook head!

tax write off Guava farm. Still a good setup

tax write off Guava farm. Still a good setup

Hong Kong: 4th June


After another very early start leaving IRRI, we took the 1.5 hour bus drive with our driver Ed to the airport and flew to Hong Kong. Our tour leader Emma Fan met us at the hotel. Emma is like a mini foxy turbo’d!!!! Everything is done at pace which is great and her knowledge and down to earth approach is fantastic for the group heading into China. Emma will guide us through all of China. She was a journalist in Beijing but now living in Perth working in the mining industry.

finally landed in Hong Kong

finally landed in Hong Kong

We had a meeting with Richard Cheung, General Manager within the Gavilion Group in Hong Kong.

Richard Cheung has been in Agri-Business for last 20 years in Hong Kong.  The Gavilion group has just been taken over by Marabene and Gavilion will now be a 100% subsidiary of Marabene.

Gavilion in one form or another has been trading since 1874 and is a US based company who trades globally in Grain.

They own the port in Portland, USA wholly and part owners of the port in the South East of the USA.  The Portland port is the largest export port.

Trade in over 300 million bushels (9 million metric tonnes) in the US.  They have 144 silos plus use farmer owned silos as well.

Freight costs are around $22/tonne from Portland to HK and $42/tonne from the South East USA port.

Last year 30 million metric tonnes went through their global network.

Gavilion has 3 major divisions: Grain, Fertiliser and Energy.

The energy division is 100% USA trade and the majority of the Fertiliser is to the USA as well.

China’s number one trade item is Sorghum with 59 million metric tonnes going into China annually.  55% comes from South America and 45% comes from North America.

Grain is a major trade item for China.  A license is required to supply with government supporting prices back to the farmer.

All grain imported is only 10% of what China produces itself.

Currently 200 million metric tonnes of Grain is traded within China with 3 million metric tonnes being imported.

Agriculture is the number one support activity within China.  Possibly due to the unrealized potential of the current Chinese farmer who on average only works 1 acre of land and generally a disorganized community.

Richards insight into China further reaffirmed to me that the Asian boom, she specially for China is not the savior for Australian agriculture it is made out to be in terms of selling produce and exports to Asia. The potential improvements in efficiencies and yield is enormous, with some crops having the potential to double in yields if modern varieties, machinery and techniques are adopted. I see the potential benefit for Australia in Education and service providing to modernizing countries. To think that China is producing 90% of their requirements with enormous scope for increased production, it would be niece to think the yields we could generate in Australia would even be a blimp on he radar when it comes to feeding Asia. Our knowledge and expertise is our greatest asset in my humble opinion.

On the tourist side we toured the city after our meeting and took a ferry tour of the harbor and had dinner at the traditional fishing village. The food was exceptional seafood and to date I think most people’s stomachs are holding…………….Also ate a fish eye, not the greatest. We also came across a candlelight ceremony for the anniversary of Tienanmen square and when discussing with Emma said this would only occur in Hong Kong and gave the example that she only found out about it whilst traveling overseas a couple of years ago when it was mentioned to her. She was 20 and never knew that event had occurred, staggering to think the government could keep that secret for so long and still, the vast vast majority of the population have no idea at all, seems amazing to me.

fish market

fish market

first crack at real Chinese food

first crack at real Chinese food

finding out the exchange rate the hard way

finding out the exchange rate the hard way

Photo 4-06-13 7 18 47 AM

Hong Kong warf at night

Hong Kong warf at night

massage time!

massage time!

The great news at home continues. Amazing rain of 60mm and Dad got a pig on our home block which never happens!!! The sacrifices of travel I suppose!!

Photo 3-06-13 9 30 42 PM

Dad with the pig caught at home, Go Maxy! and rain was a huge relief! might need to stay away to keep the rain coming!