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Australian grain farmer Ross Johns was a speaker in Saskatoon on Wednesday night at an event sponsored by the Farm Leadership Council, APAS and the Canadian Association of Farm Advisors. While Australian grain production is similar to Canadian production in many ways, there are also amazing differences. In Western Canada, we have a huge amount of on-farm grain storage. In Australia, most of the grain storage exists at a score of ocean ports. Grain is typically trucked directly to the ports at harvest time. According to Ross Johns, the Aussie grain industry is pinning its hopes on genetically modified crops to provide the next big production boost. Australia has been a late adopter of GM crops and some states are still rejecting the technology. Johns was asked about farmland prices down under and why their land seems to be increasing in value more quickly than land here. Johns says farmland that’s marginal for moisture is not increasing in value, but other land certainly is. His own land, north of Melbourne is valued at about $800 an acre, with land in better locations as high as $5,000 an acre. According to Johns, it’s an Aussie rule of thumb that farmland doubles in value every ten years. I’m Kevin Hursh