Home' TAS Country : February 27, 2015 Contents V1 - TSCE01Z01MA
TASMANIAN COUNTRY, Friday, February 27, 2015 09
Shears go click at record pace
A NEW world shearing record
was set last week at Dubbo in
New Zealander Stacey Te
Huia, based in Bathurst, shore
530 Merino ewes in nine
hours, beating the previous re-
cord set in 2005 by 17 ewes .
GROWING demand for Tasmanian
hazelnuts has one grower struggling to
keep up with demand.
Christie McLeod from Hazelbrae
Hazelnuts near Hagley says she has had
to turn away potential buyers this season
because they do not have enough nuts.
"The potential is huge. I had three
people drop in this week wanting to
export our nuts to China. At the moment
we just don't have enough to supply that
sort of market.
"We could sell twice the amount of
nuts we are producing."
Ms Mcleod said the value-adding
opportunities were also exciting.
"There are so many things you can do
with them --- not just with food, but with
personal care products as well," she said.
Nuts harvested at Hazelbrae are
cracked and dried on the property. In the
next couple of weeks new cracking and
drying equipment will be installed.
Plans to open an on-farm cafe and
tasting facility are also advanced.
Ms McLeod said with demand far
outstripping supply, she would encourage
farmers who may be looking to diversify
to consider hazelnuts.
Trees take about 12 years to reach
maturity. The oldest trees at Hazelbrae
are now 10 years old and the youngest
have been in the ground for five years.
For the first time the orchard will open
its doors to the public during harvest. The
orchard will open every weekend in
March from tomorrow from 10am to 4pm.
Ms Mcleod said the aim was for people
to taste hazelnuts straight from the tree.
"Kernel size is much larger than usual
this year, so we're interested to see how
this is reflected in the overall yield across
the crop after harvest."
There will be children's' activities,
grower talks and harvesting
Hazelnut ice cream and other food will
be for sale and visitors are welcome to
bring their own picnic. On Sundays there
will also be live music.
Cost is $10 per person, under-10s free,
or $35 for a family.
Demand going nuts at orchard
FRACKING in Tasmania
remains unlikely, even if a
moratorium on the gas extrac-
tion process is lifted.
As opposition to hydraulic
fracturing, known as fracking,
ramps up with the State Gov-
ernment's moratorium due to
expire next month, experts say
it is unlikely to be viable.
Three petroleum product ex-
ploration licences have been
granted but only one, for South
Australia-based firm Petragas,
would involve fracking.
The company says it is too
early to tell whether viable
reserves of shale gas are pres-
ent in Tasmania.
"All we know is that there
are shales and they have a
reasonable potential for eco-
nomic resources," managing
director Terry Kallis said.
Petragas is one year into a
five-year search for gas. Mr
Kallis said even if the Govern-
ment's moratorium was
extended, the company's
search could continue.
"We wouldn't be saying we'd
like to frack, assuming things
went well, for at least another
couple of years," he said.
Petragas hopes to form a
venture with an investor part-
ner to extract shale gas, which
has only been produced in
Australia since 2012 but makes
up a quarter of US gas supplies.
University of Adelaide
head Dennis Cooke said the
majority of petroleum-
exploration licences did not
lead to an oil or gas field.
"My estimate is there is less
than a 10 per cent chance that
Tasmanian onshore explo-
ration will lead to oil or gas
production," Dr Cooke said.
Tasmanian Minerals and
Energy Council boss Wayne
Bould said millions more
would need to be spent for an
industry to get started and
there was nothing to show
someone was willing to do it.
The focus in Tasmania is on
shale gas, which requires drill-
ing to a depth of up to 3.5km.
Opponents of fracking will
rally in Hobart on Saturday
calling for the moratorium to
be made permanent.
They say fracking can affect
water quality, farmers' rights
are being undermined and
Tasmania's clean, green image
is being put at risk. Most sub-
missions to a review of frack-
ing were opposed to it.
Your Say: Page 10
POTENTIAL: Christie McLeod says she could sell twice the amount of nuts her farm is producing.
Picture: ROSS MARSDEN
PASTURE SEED ANNUAL BLENDS
LOOKING FOR FAST AUTUMN FEED
TO FINISH LAMBS, OR A HIGH PERFORMANCE
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