Briefcase: Business excerpts from around SA

In this week’s briefcase, a new harvest report predicts record high production and value, a major defense contractor announces an education partnership in Adelaide and the South Australian “Cherry King” for 2022 is unveiled.

Harvest report predicts records

The most recent South Australian Crop and Pasture Report predicts that the 2022-2023 harvest in South Australia will break production levels and farm value records.

The record high production estimate of 12.1 million tons combined with high global grain prices means the farm is estimated to be valued at $4.4 billion, breaking the previous record of $3.3 billion set last year.

The report revealed that an ideal spring closure, with cool conditions, above-average spring rainfall and good soil moisture from a crop that is generally in good to excellent condition contributed to the record high production.

Crop harvesting and hay baling has been delayed by late spring storms and rains in October and November, with reports of crop damage in some districts and weather-related grain quality issues.

High rapeseed prices have resulted in increased rapeseed acreage at the expense of barley, and the fall in pea acreage has continued to a record low this year.

Harvest progress is significantly behind average years, with harvest expected to continue into the new year in many districts, but significant tonnage is expected to be delivered to stores from the end of November.

The cattle are in good to excellent condition and the availability of feed in the spring pasture is above average.

Grain reserves are sufficient to cover feed requirements, but rain spoilage of freshly cut hay is widespread and quality is substandard.

Chelsea Lincione

New college to support the defense industry

The state government has announced that British arms manufacturer BAE Systems will become a major employer partner at the new Findon Technical College.

The college is part of a $209 million dollar commitment from the state government to build five technical colleges in South Australia.

The other colleges will be located at the Heights School in the northeast and the Tonsley TAFE site in the southern suburbs. There will also be two regional colleges – one in Port Augusta and the other in Mount Gambier.

“Findon Technical College will be the first of our technical colleges to open and will set a standard for excellence in the design, learning environment and provision of skills-based training,” said Secretary of Education, Training and Skills Blair Boyer.

According to the government, Findon Technical College, which is expected to open in 2024, will address critical skills shortages by providing students with hands-on experience in facilities designed to mimic real workplaces.

The college will support industries such as defense, ship and submarine construction and will provide career paths for welders, programmers and robotics engineers, among others.

There will also be vocational training for early childhood careers and education.

“Technical Colleges provide a great industry base to engage with students, get an early exposure to new industry technologies and support career connections,” said Georgette Elston, Head of Resourcing and Early Careers at BAE Systems .

In October, BAE Systems was awarded a three-year, $45 million extension to its contract to provide periscope support to the Royal Australian Navy’s six Collins Class submarines, with more work to remain in South Australia.

—Charlie Gilchrist

Master Builders call for action against inflation

According to Denita Wawn, CEO of Master Builders Australia, the large increase in new home costs is one of the main reasons inflation has risen across the economy.

She said difficulties with the supply of materials and labor have put pressure on new home construction and that this has contributed to new home purchase prices rising 20.4 percent in the year to October 2022.

“There was a 2.2 percent increase in total construction volume during the September 2022 quarter,” said Wawn.

This was largely due to the strong increase in civil/technical construction (3.4 percent) during the quarter. However, according to Master Builders Australia, there were also gains for both residential construction (1.3 percent) and non-residential construction (1.1 percent) in the same period.

“Looking ahead, newly released approval data indicate that housing activity will be lower in the coming months,” said Wawn.

“There was a 6 percent drop in total new home approvals in October 2022 and a particularly sharp 11.3 percent drop in the number of medium to high density homes.”

Master Builders Australia wants state and territory governments to solve problems that are frustrating the industry, such as lengthy delays in the approval of land titles, development and construction applications and vocational certificates.

Cherry King crowned for 2022

Rainbow Fresh owner Joe Giangregorio was crowned Cherry King 2022 last week after receiving $50,000 for his 5kg box of cherries at the annual cherry auction at the South Australian Produce Market in Pooraka.

The money raised will go to the Leukemia Foundation, which supports 135,000 Australians living with blood cancer.

Tim Murphy, managing director of the Leukemia Foundation, said they were delighted to partner with SA Produce Market as their “cherrity of choice” this year.

“We thank them and Adelaide’s generous bidders whose ‘charriosity’ will help the Leukemia Foundation ensure that blood cancer patients across the country have access to the right information, support and care they need to fight the disease, as well as someone to turn to everyone. step out of the way,” Murphy said.

The South Australian cherry season started in mid-November with small numbers of Riverland cherries appearing on the South Australian Produce Market, with peak supply from the Adelaide Hills expected in mid to late December.

“Growers have delayed the season due to bad weather, but we are all hoping for a great Christmas cherry season for our South Australian growers,” said Clare Scriven, South Australia’s Minister for Primary Industry and Regional Development.

“I encourage everyone to continue to support our local growers as much as possible during this summer season.”

—Charlie Gilchrist

VALO has expanded the facility in Monarto

South Australian lighting company VALO says it will expand into a 65,000 square foot warehouse in Monarto for advanced industrial manufacturing and industrial hemp processing.

The facility, a former Big W distribution center, complements VALO’s production of stadium lighting products in Kent Town.

It has been used so far this year to build large light shows at motorsport events, including VALO’s sponsor event, the Adelaide 500.

According to VALO, more than 20 people are currently working on the Monarto site.

“With this expansion, VALO will employ more people in regional South Australia and create more jobs in the state, boosting the economy,” VALO CEO Aaron Hickmann said in a statement.

“Basing our LED digital display technology business in the Monarto Innovation Precinct also supports VALO’s plans to export to the US, Europe and Southeast Asia.”

Hickmann also said the expanded site would provide research opportunities as an industrial hemp processing facility, with more than 8,000 Agave plants already on the site.

The plants have been used for research on topics such as green hydrogen, Hickmann said.

FOMENT tech accelerator will return in 2023

Australia’s wine, viticultural and tourism technology accelerator is calling for its fourth intake and encouraging applications from across the wine supply chain.

The next FOMENT Accelerator Program will run for six weeks in South Australia, commencing in February 2023 and run in partnership with Hydra Consulting, the Wine Industry Suppliers Association (WISA) and Flinders New Venture Institute (NVI).

Participants in the 2023 program will experience an immersion week in the Barossa Valley, weekly expert coaching, global mentoring and networking opportunities.

Darren Oemcke, co-founder and head coach at FOMENT, said they want to increase the critical mass of start-ups in the wine industry technology so that more wine-focused technology is emerging globally.

“[This will] accelerate the adoption of technology by growers, winemakers, marketers and tourism providers and increase the size of the antipodal wine, viticulture and tourism community,” he said.

WISA executive officer Shirley Fraser said the association used the program to help industry adopt new technologies.

“Supporting innovation through the FOMENT Accelerator is the bridge for WISA to enable great ideas and innovation to practical solutions for the wine industry’s ability and competitiveness,” she said.

Start-ups are invited to register before December 16 to participate in the accelerator.

Chelsea Lincione

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