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TAS Country : September 2nd 2010
Friday, September 3, 2010 Tasmanian Country 11 Premier's bowl of innovation JENNIFER CRAWLEY PUSH: Premier Bartlett Tasmania will produce a high-end, high-value product for which we can set the price, because of the conditions that we have here.' A STRATEGY to cash in on irrigation infrastructure and bolster the food bowl vision has been released by the State Government. The innovation strategy will inject $6.79 million over five years into identifying new markets, agricultural education and farming practice. Premier David Bartlett launching the strategy last week said Tasmania could not compete with the low input costs of New Zealand and other coun- tries. ''New Zealand pay lower wages than Tasmania, that's a fact,'' Mr Bartlett said. A large section of the frozen veg- etable market disappeared from the North West of Tasmania when proces- sor McCain Foods moved its operation to New Zealand. McCain cited input costs as the reason behind the move. ''We're not entering a race to the bottom when it comes to salaries and wages and conditions for Tasmanian workers,' Mr Bartlett said. Investment in research and science described in the innovation strategy has already paid off for some Tasman- ian agricultural producers, Mr Bartlett said. ''We're seeing very high-value prod- ucts like cherries going to Japan, that simply weren't being produced 10 or 15 years ago,'' he said. He said the innovation strategy will help producers diversify and move up the value chain. ''Tasmania will produce a high-end, high-value product for which we can set the price, because of the conditions that we have here,'' Mr Bartlett said. Coal River Valley producer Justin Nichols said farmers supported the food bowl strategy but more focus was needed on research for new crops and the utilisation of crops, especially in areas where McCain has pulled out. ''We want to see the food bowl strategy grow but we would like to see more meat on its bones,'' Mr Nichols said. ''We want to see new crops in areas where water is now becoming avail- able, we dont want to overproduce what we are producing now.'' Mr Nichols said he has grown 35 different crops over the years on his Richmond farm and that there are a lot of farmers in the same position as his. This year he is growing three. ''We have to find some niche,'' Mr Nichols said. ''It's the kind of thing that New Zealand seems to do better and we have to pick up on that. ''You don't make a cake by simply adding water.'' The innovation strategy provides $200,000 for a four year scholarship in a masters degree called the Top Flight Farm Management Course to be intro- duced by the University of Tasmania in 2012. It provides $800 000 over four years for the agribusiness skills pipeline program to support career pathway planning. And it provides $750,000 for a three year wealth from water initiative to change land use to production of higher-value crops based on identified market needs. News WINNING FORM: Ambleside farmer and spray contractor Doug Clark has take out a national award. How to spray and wipe rivals JENNIFER CRAWLEY DOUG Clark didn't like being indoors much as a child, and now that love of the outdoors has won him a national award. He has taken out the top prize in the SPRAY Awards, the Sustainable, Professional Responsible Applicator of the Year. The Syngenta-sponsored awards recognise outstanding sprayers from around Australia. The 33-year-old Ambleside father of three young boys has been spraying for 16 years. He owns a business with his wife Jody called DD and J Clark Pty Ltd. Doug said he thoroughly enjoyed his work. ''The glorious weather, I get to work in it every single day no matter what,'' he said. The Clarks lease paddocks at Wesley Vale and Forth, where they grow brassica and cauliflower seed. An Ulverstone machinery dealer put Doug's name forward in the awards, and he beat the best sprayers in southeastern Australia. Doug said the weather played a big role in spraying. ''If we get the weather wrong, we just stop,'' he said. ''And nozzles are a very big thing for us --- they can be too coarse or too fine, depending on the wind. ''I know what it's like to live next door to an agricultural property and get spray drift.'' The major prize is a $15,000 study tour of the UK. Family members will look after the children when the Clarks take their study tour in May and June. The couple want to visit the Massey Ferguson factory, and are keen to keen to catch up with other seed growers. Doug covers about 8000ha per year spraying pyrethrum, poppies, seed brassicas and potatoes. He has bought a second machine to meet demand. Doug operates two Amazone UF1801 rear-mounted spray units carried on Massey Ferguson tractors. The two units are fitted with 24-metre Super S booms. Each section can be folded independently of the other, allowing the convenience of single-side or even partial-width spraying. The judging process was conducted in several stages, including on-farm assessment reports and phone interviews. The judges said Doug's focus on quality and getting the product to the target were key factors in his win. ''It gives you a real buzz to have that tick of approval and to know what you've been doing for your customers is spot-on,'' Doug said. CRF230F $400 HONDA CRF230L CTX200/A DOLLARS A CORKER OF A DEAL *HondaDollars may be used in-store only to purchase accessories, servicing or to reduce the purchase price. $400 HondaDollars available on CTX200/A, CRF230F and CRF230L between July 1 and October 31 2010. HMC9092 Have a gander at this, $400 HondaDollars on 3 of the best. The ever-ready CTX200/A. The CRF230L go anywhere freedom machine and the CRF230F off-road warrior. Corkers from Honda, see your dealer.
August 26th 2010
September 9th 2010