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TAS Country : August 26th 2010
Friday, August 27, 2010 Tasmanian Country 9 News Bonanza for organic markets FARM gate sales of organic pro- duce have risen almost 50 per cent in the past two years, according to a new report. The 2010 Australian Organic Market Report released last week showed strong growth in most organic sectors, despite the effects of drought and the global financial crisis, with retail sales forecast to top $1 billion by the end of the year. Biological Farmers of Australia chairman Doug Haas said the or- ganic industry had developed dur- ing the past 20 years from a small, niche market ''into a thriving, competitive industry, now found at the mainstream market level''. And that was where organic farmers faced one of their biggest challenges --- bridging the gap between supply and demand for organic products in supermarkets. The report said more than 60 per cent of Australian households would occasionally buy organic, a 20 per cent rise since 2008, but price and availability were identified as major barriers to purchasing or- ganic products. According to the report, there were 2986 certified organic oper- ators as of June last year, represent- ing an average annual increase of 4 per cent. Three quarters were in farming operations, accounting for 1.6 per cent of all farms in Australia and the average size of organic farms had increased, highlighting a trend towards professional farming on a larger scale. ''With 12,001,724ha, Australia ex- hibits the largest amount of certi- fied organic farmland in the world, the vast majority of which is used for extensive grazing,'' the report said. ''Non-rangeland and pastoral certified organic lands have con- tinued to increase by 5 per cent over the past two years.'' The organic vegetable, herb and nursery production market was valued at $77.5 million, followed by fruit ($37.3m), beef ($34.4m), milk and dairy ($17.9m), poultry meat ($15.3m) and lamb ($11.3m). The report valued honey sales at $9.7 million, grains, pulses, fibres and oil crops at $9.4 million, poultry and eggs at $3.2 million and nuts at $2.2 million. The smallest sectors were essential oils ($1.2m), wool ($826,993) and pigs ($255,030). The biennial report is the second to benchmark production and mar- ket value of the organic industry. The Weekly Times Wool chief's parting clip AUSTRALIA'S wool promotion efforts and industry leadership have been slam- med by the outgoing chairman of Aust- ralian Wool Growers Association, Martin Oppenheimer. ''We have dropped the ball when it comes to marketing and promoting,'' Mr Oppenheimer said in a statement an- nouncing his resignation. The new chairman of the wool lobby group is West Australian grazier and Merino stud breeder Shane Edwards, from Quairanding, east of Perth. And while Mr Oppenheimer wouldn't single out any particular group for his criticisms, he said the industry needed better leadership, consultation and out- comes to sustain itself. ''Woolgrowers demand better use of their hard-earned levies and further in- creases in levies can be ruled out right now,'' he said. ''Merino wool is ideally suited to su- stainable agriculture, we know that, but do consumers?'' The Weekly Times PRODUCTIVE: Close-up of poppy-seed meal. over waste mineralised nitrogen at about 42 days, when it then levelled out. Poppy seed waste also contained the highest amount of organic carbon with 34.6 per cent. Mr Henry said seeing the results of Mr Ives's research had confirmed what he was seeing on his farm. Prior to using the poppy-seed waste, he had concerns about increasing amounts of fertiliser inputs being used to grow crops on the farm, without any noticeable gains in yields. Soil tests had revealed that a decreasing amount of soil organic carbon was likely the main issue. ''We were looking to increase the organic carbon and this was something we had available here because of the oil business so we've used thousands of tonnes of it on the farm over the last three or four years and the results we've been getting have been excellent,'' he said. ''I guess that's why I was keen to see what Stephen came up with because I really wanted to know what was in it.'' Mr Henry said they had used the poppy- seed waste on some poorer quality soils on the property with excellent results. ''We've incorporated it in with stubble and used it on pastures and done all sorts of things with it,'' he said. ''We've also used it on some fairly ordinary parts of the farm and it's worked really well.'' Mr Henry is also trialling the use of compost made from waste products from a nearby lamb feedlot and his own cropping operations. Mr Ives said concerns about dwindling global supplies of fertilisers such as phosphorous and significant price in- creases two years ago had prompted some farmers to start looking at alternative fertilisers. Last year the MacQuarie Oil plant put through about 7000 tonnes of poppy seed which produced about 5000 tonnes of poppy seed waste. Mr Henry said they had now run out of places to use the poppy-seed waste on their own farm and would look at selling the product to other farmers. There are also plans to work with a mainland-based company to package the waste into small 5-10kg biodegradable calico bags labelled The Main Meal, to sell into the home gardener market. ''When you think that for years this was just a waste product the companies had to get rid of in landfill and things like that, which cost them money, this is a much better use for it,'' Mr Henry said. The poppy-seed meal is quite easy to handle and can be applied using tra- ditional fertiliser-spreading equipment. ''It's quite easy to spread, but it is light so you have to travel quite low, but that's not really a problem,'' Mr Henry said. Do you need help to live independently at home? * Calls from mobile phones are charged at applicable rates Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres are here to help. A Centre can: • Provide you with information on local aged & community care services available to suit your needs • Arrange help for carers to take a break from their caring role (respite) To contact your local Centre call Freecall 1800 052 222* To find your nearest shopfront visit www.commcarelink.health.gov.au For emergency respite outside business hours call Freecall 1800 059 059* Carer Advisory and Counselling Service For family carer support and counselling you can contact your state or territory Carers Association on 1800 242 636* adcorp11868
August 19th 2010
September 2nd 2010