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Murray River Organics (ASX:MRG) - Departing Managing Director & CEO, Valentina Tripp
Departing Managing Director & CEO, Valentina Tripp
Source: Food Magazine
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  • Murray River Organics (MRG) has resumed exporting in key markets, but has experienced some harvest trouble due to bad weather conditions
  • Since February, the company has experienced shipping delays, however, key export markets have now resumed, including China, Japan and Europe
  • Murray’s National Retail business has also experienced strong demand in its imported categories, such as organic rice
  • Dried vine harvest is well underway, however, rain events in April and May have slowed down harvest for the company and its growers
  • In turn, the poor season and rain will impact the quality of grapes available and the availability of some varieties and grades
  • Given the risk in quality, Murray’s will not supply its dried grape fruit clusters this season
  • Murray has also commenced its citrus harvest this week, however, quality is varying due to the windy and hot weather over the summer
  • On market close, Murray remains steady and is selling shares for 1.4 cents per share

Murray River Organics (MRG) has updated the market on operations and harvest.

Exporting

As previously announced, since February the company has experienced shipping delays. However, key export markets have now resumed ordering, including China, Japan and Europe.

Given this renewal of demand, Murray River has continued to build its ‘Taking Sunraysia to Asia’ strategy, with further investments in China. These include the development of its own Tmall store, due to launch in June, and new digital programs across WeChat, Little Red Book and Tik Tok.

National Retail Business

Murray’s National Retail business has also experienced strong demand, leading to ‘out of stocks’ in some imported categories such as organic rice.

The company is also launching its new Muesli range across 800 Coles stores in June. The expected revenues are to be between $5 million to $6 million per annum.

Ingredients Business

Murray’s ingredients business has also experienced an increase in demand and additional orders, this has continued at higher levels than those prior to March.

The company secured a supply partnership for dried vine with Nestle and looks to expand the partnership into other categories.

Cost Saving Measures

The company has conducted an intensive review of operations and costs and implemented cost-saving measures in the 2020 financial year totalling $1.6 million.

Murray’s will also implement further savings over the next 12 months.

Harvest Update

Dried vine harvest is well underway, however, rain events in April and May have slowed down harvest for the company and its growers.

The poor season and rain will impact the quality and availability of some varieties and grades. Given the risk in quality, Murray’s will not supply its dried grape fruit clusters this season.

“This will mean that all farms will be machine harvested and there will be no manual picking for clusters on Murray’s farms,” the company said.

This will result in minimal sales for clusters in 2021 financial year. The planned clusters will be harvested and sold as bulk dried vine fruit.

The company will recommence the clusters program next season.

“Approximately 60 per cent of the expected 2020 dried vine crop has been contracted at the opening of the season,” Murray told the market.

The industry estimates that this year’s crop will be down by 20 per cent compared to last season due to poor growing conditions, high water prices and low water allocations, and dried vine growers leaving the industry.

Grapes

Fresh table grape harvest is good quality, improved yield and is approximately 70 per cent completed.

China, the primary market, has experienced some pressures on marketing prices as significant volumes are routed to China due to closures in other table grape markets such as Indonesia, Philippines and South East Asia.

Citrus

Murray has commenced its citrus harvest this week, however, quality is varying due to the windy and hot weather over the summer.

“The industry anticipates strong demand similar to the post-SARS spike in 2003 with Asian consumers seeking vitamin-C laden fruit,” the company said.

Hemp

Hemp crop harvest from the Nangiloc farm is nearly completed. The early signs from the initial seed assessments are that the quality of seed is good and should deliver a high-grade product once cleaned and sorted.

Despite the weather challenges early in the season, the yield is expected to deliver approximately 20 tonnes.

“This first pick of our successful trial crop is evidence that an organic hemp crop of scale can be grown in the Sunraysia region,” the company added.

On market close, Murray remains steady and is selling shares for 1.4 cents per share.

MRG by the numbers
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