Australia’s cereal gr-owers are rubbing their hands in glee at plans by Russia to increase its taxes on wheat exports.
Russia, the world’s largest exporter of wheat, doubled its export tax to €50 on March 1 in a bid to bring down domestic food prices.
The approach of the tax hike saw a huge demand for Russian wheat, with exports in February hitting a record.
Moscow also has plans to enforce similar taxes on corn and barley.
Australian farmers, however, are looking forward to the next few months after harvesting their best yet wheat crop.
Grains analyst Andrew White-law, speaking to ABC Rural, said Russia was now less competitive in the export market due to the taxes – opening the door to Aussie sales.
“They’re the largest exporter of wheat in the world, our biggest competitor, so by having this export tax it makes them uncompetitive, which in turn is good for us,” he said.
“It’s the perfect balance for us in that we’ve produced a record wheat crop and now the rest of the world is inflating our prices. It’s a win-win.”
Michael Whitehead, head of ANZ’s Agribusiness Insights in Australia, said Aussie farmers could benefit from the move for years to come.
“With Russian wheat now more expensive than comparable Australian varieties for the first time, importers will increasingly seek the Australian product,” he said.
“And if Russia does this to their growers, it’s likely next year Russian farmers will produce less wheat … and there’s no signs of when this tax will come off.
“So for the short, medium, and potentially longer term this could be good news for Australian farmers.
“One of the really interesting things is what it’s going to mean to the planting intentions for Australian farmers for next year.
“A lot of farmers coming off
the back of this great harvest would have been thinking about crop rotations next year, or
some may have been thinking about putting some cropping country towards cattle or sheep to cash in on high stock prices, but that thinking might now change.
“This is not just wheat. Russia has curbed its barley and corn exports as well, so it could spur on extra plantings for a range of crops.”
He said the outlook for Australian agriculture was look-ing very bright in 2021.
“With Australian cattle prices going well, and sheep prices going well, and now with wheat going well, for those running big, mixed farming operations this presents a good problem in terms of what the decisions are going to be.”