Deer meat in pet food plan

Feral deer could soon be turned into pet food, with the Victorian Government considering allowing processing of the game species.

A Government spokesman told The Weekly Times it was considering changes that would “help with the processing of game species, specifically wild deer”.

It’s likely any changes to the law would be welcomed by High Country farmer Peter “Pilso” Richards.

Mr Richards wants to restore an old kill house at Swifts Creek, in East Gippsland, to process deer for a commercial pet food market.

Ideas man: Peter “Pilso” Richards in the kill house at Swifts Creek where he would like to set up a wild-deer operation to produce commercial pet food. Picture: Laura Ferguson

Ideas man: Peter “Pilso” Richards in the kill house at Swifts Creek where he would like to set up a wild-deer operation to produce commercial pet food. Picture: Laura Ferguson

Mr Richards’ idea would see farmers apply for permits to allow a select group of qualified hunters on to private property to harvest the pests for processing at Swifts Creek.

Mr Richards bought the kill room — currently used for the occasional steer — more than a decade ago.

“It’s a single kill floor and cool room, so we’d have to spend some money to bring it up to scratch,” Mr Richards said.

Mr Richards’ idea has won early support from local farmers and hunters.

“We wouldn’t be opposed, if it’s tightly controlled,” Australian Deer Association executive Barry Howlett said of the deer-processing proposal.

“If the deer are over-abundant the farmers should have the tools they need to manage them,” he said.

Bindi farmer Simon Turner described Mr Richards as an “ideas man” and said that his plan would have “huge community support”.

Representing the Victorian Farmers Federation Omeo branch, Mr Turner said a deer-processing facility would provide employment and much-needed pest management, as farmers struggled with deer destroying dog-proof fences, pastures and crops.

Mr Turner knew of one farmer who had “shot 150 deer over winter just trying to keep a lid on the problem”.

The State Government is trialling a kangaroo cull in central and western Victoria for pet food.

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Pig poo power plant set to boost jobs and energy in northern Victoria

An ambitious plan to turn pig poo and food scraps into power is being developed in northern Victoria.

The power plant, glasshouse and piggery expansion, called Waranga Green Energy, will be built at Stanhope, west of Shepparton. For over five years, it has been the dream of piggery owner John Bourke.

The project is set to transform the quiet town of Stanhope, providing an additional 30 jobs and estimated $10 million per year for the local economy. The aim of the property is to develop a closed system for power and waste on the farm.

Pig poo and straw from the intensive farming environment will be used, along with other food waste, to create power in an anaerobic digester plant to be built nearby. The plant will be used to power the piggery and provide heat to an expanded and upgraded farm.

Next to the power plant, a 4.6-hectare greenhouse will be built, using power and heat to grow leafy green vegetables, year round, to supply gaps in the seasonal markets.

The goal is to sell up to 20 million lettuces and over 20,000 pigs per year, along with liquid and solid fertiliser (a bi-product from the power plant) to the farm’s customers.

The price tag for the Waranga Green Energy and farm project is around $75million which Mr Bourke is planning to raise through superannuation and foreign investment.

He has hired a company to raise the capital needed.

An additional $1 million grant has been awarded by the Victorian State Government.

Mr Bourke is confident he will get the investment dollars he needs because of the high return from the project.

Construction is set to begin in early 2017 with Mr Bourke expecting the farm to be fully operational and sending food to market within the year.

Pigs on straw beds at a piggery at Stanhope

Pigs on straw beds at a piggery at Stanhope

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Regional Business Showcase – Panel Discussion

The 3rd Australian Regional Development Conference will be held in Canberra on 5-6 September 2016. The conference theme Regional Australia – Planning, Participation and Progress will explore opportunities for innovation in regional Australia. With its rich resources, diversity, and value, regional Australia is the catalyst for the future.

On Day 2 the conference will host a Regional Businesses Showcase Panel Discussion featuring the following panellists:

Ms Jane Homberger, Director, Skin Smart Australia.

The team of Dermatoscopists have been hand selected across a range of locations Australia-wide to deliver the highest quality of skin cancer assessment. Skin Smart use the latest in Dermatoscopy techniques to assess for skin cancer. They offer molemap consultations at our clinic. By utilising this technology any suspicious lesions can be effectively monitored for microscopic changes. With a strict focus on professional development and the latest industry best practice in this evolving area, you can be confident our team has the best available skills and knowledge on skin cancer detection, education and prevention.

Mr Tony Kalleske, Director, Kalleske Wines.

In South Australia’s Barossa Valley, the Kalleske family have been farming and growing grapes since 1853 near the village of Greenock. They are one of the region’s leading grape growing families consistently growing some of the Barossa’s best quality grapes. After six generations of growing grapes, winemaker and seventh generation family member, Troy Kalleske, together with his brother Tony, established the Kalleske winery and made the first ‘Kalleske’ wine. The winery is situated on the family estate where traditional winemaking techniques ensure the vineyard realises its full potential as wine. The vineyard is managed by Troy’s and Tony’s parents, John and Lorraine, and brother, Kym. John has over forty years’ experience tending the vineyard. The 120 acre vineyard is planted to Shiraz, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Semillon, Chenin Blanc, Mataro, Petit Verdot, Durif, Viognier, Tempranillo and Zinfandel. Vines vary in age with the oldest remaining vineyard dating back to 1875 and an overall average vine age of about 50 years. The vineyard is low yielding with grapes grown organically and bio dynamically and the winery is also certified biodynamic/organic. The Kalleske family are active practitioners of sustainable farming. They are caretakers of the land and not only want to maintain the environment but improve it for future generations.

Ms Dianna Somerville, Director, RTGC Group.

With a background in contracts, defence management and operation services Dianna began to notice there was a huge gap in people’s abilities to put documentation together. Especially in regional areas, where people had incredible abilities in their roles, but found applying for tenders, grants and contracts confusing and overwhelming. That’s how she started Regional Grants, Tenders and Corporate Services. Bored of working from her farm’s remote home office she became the first client of Working Spaces HQ, a coworking space opened and run by a local entrepreneur Simone Eyles. Working in the coshared space has opened Dianna’s eyes to how innovative people in Wagga are. Her passion has made her determined to make the area a regional hub that fosters the growth of local entrepreneurs who will build solutions to regional, national and global problems. She wants to show the young people in her town and surrounding areas that they do not have to leave their homes to be part of the start-up scene. Dianna says the roll out of the NBN has helped to make it easier, and slowly people are beginning to recognise they can grow their businesses from a regional area.

Join the discussion and take part in the 3rd Australian Regional Development Conference this September, for more information and to register visit the conference website

Poppy project set to bloom and boom for NSW agriculture?

POPPY processor TPI Enterprises says planting in NSW could begin as early as April if legislation passes parliament as expected.

But farmer representatives say the company’s five-year, 5000-hectare poppy vision for NSW will be a slow burn – rather than an immediate boost – for the state’s $12 billion agriculture sector.

TPI Enterprises chief executive Jarrod Ritchie says he wants 5000 hectares of poppies growing in NSW in the next five years. TPI is one of three processors in Australia who can licence farmers to grow poppies. Photo by Scott Gelston.

TPI Enterprises chief executive Jarrod Ritchie says he wants 5000 hectares of poppies growing in NSW in the next five years. TPI is one of three processors in Australia who can licence farmers to grow poppies. Photo by Scott Gelston.

NSW is set to pass laws that would see it join Tasmania, Victoria and the Northern Territory as legal producers of alkaloid poppies. South Australia is expected to follow suit.

Until 2014 Tasmania enjoyed a 40-year poppy monopoly, and, despite sagging under current market conditions, still produces 80 per cent of the world’s raw narcotic product for various medicines.

On the right land alkaloid poppies can produce about $10,000 of raw material per hectare.

TPI chief executive Jarrod Ritchie said expanding into SA and NSW would help the company double its capacity to about 15,000 hectares, with NSW earmarked for about 5000 hectares within three to five years.

Mr Ritchie said the average yield of narcotic raw product from Australian alkaloid poppies was 15 kilograms per hectare. More productive land can produce closer to 60kg, with the raw materials fetching between $150 to $200/kg.

“If you’ve got experience with cropping, you’ll be fine,” Mr Ritchie said. “Particularly the rice and cotton growers.”

NSW Farmers Justin Crosby said the success of poppies would depend on processors’ ability to identify the right growers.

“The good thing is that we’ve got the opportunity to build up as the world’s demand for medicine continues,” Mr Crosby said.

“It just needs a secure and stable supply chain to be put in place.”

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Rocky to become home to a $140m new urban university village

The Morning Bulletin

Queensland Deputy Premier Jackie Trad.

Queensland Deputy Premier Jackie Trad.

Hundreds of jobs and development opportunities in the Rockhampton area are on the horizon with the announcement today the Palaszczuk Government is seeking a development partner to transform the Central Queensland University (CSU) campus into a $140 million vibrant urban village.

The Deputy Premier and Minister for Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning Jackie Trad announced the opening of Expressions of Interest today.

“The project will transform 80 hectares of the university campus into a mix of residential, retail, community and recreational areas and generate up to 470 jobs,” Ms Trad said.

“The development will not only enhance the role of CQU as an education destination but will provide the broader Rockhampton community with a diverse range of housing options including affordable housing and new retail and recreational amenities.

“With more than 2,000 dwellings expected to be delivered as part of the venture to transform the Priority Development Area into a vibrant urban community which integrates the university with residential, educational, retail and community facilities, this area will become part of the Rockhampton landscape.

“This next phase of the project follows the announcement of $7.65 million in funding from the Priority Development Infrastructure Co-investment Program for the provision of an intersection at the Bruce Highway and the new Main Street within stage 1 of the proposed new development.

“This is a great example of where catalyst infrastructure can help the next stage of a development get off the ground.

“This development will activate a large parcel of development-ready land in Rockhampton ripe for growth, with social benefits for the community and retail precincts.”

CQU Rockhampton was declared a Priority Development Area in 2011 and since that time Economic Development Queensland has been working closely with the university and Rockhampton Regional Council on potential development opportunities.

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