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TAS Country : October 21st 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010 Tasmanian Country 9 Opinion *For Terms & Conditions refer to www.onesteelcyclone.com.au Registered trademark of OneSteel Wire Pty Limited ABN 59 000 010 873. Ingall St, Mayfield NSW 2304. CYC0009/TC. To take advantage of this great offer, get your claim form at www.onesteelcyclone.com.au and return with your proof of purchase to: Cyclone Gate Promotion Offer, PO Box 586, Crows Nest, NSW 1585. BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND. GET CA$H BACK. Cyclone, the name you know for quality Australian gates, is offering you $10 cash back* on every gate you purchase from September 1st to October 31st 2010. That means if you buy 10 gates you get $100 cash back! Native harvest will add value EXPORTER: Lenah Game Meats' John Kelly has approval to sell possum. CHEWS THEFAT David Byard IN June of this year I wrote a story on possums and what a wasted resource they were. In New Zealand possums are an introduced species and in plague proportions, and on a trip to the country I found that they are now the source of a major industry. Everywhere we went there was no end of jumpers, scarves, even gloves made out of possum leather. The ingenuity of what could be done with a simple possum was staggering. Last Friday it appears that the Federal Minister Tony Burke signed off on a harvesting agreement that would allow us to harvest 100,000 possums. This has been a long and protracted battle to get a harvesting plan through the Federal Government and has a lot to do with the persistence of Greg Hocking who seems to understand how to write these sorts of things up. Not everybody will be happy, because animal welfare people have been totally against the harvesting of possums. However, in the real world we need a balance. Part of my article in June stated that we must find people willing and capable of weaving and making all sorts of products. It seemed to me at the time there was no sense in exporting hair to China or New Zealand. Now the harvesting plan for possums has been signed off we have an option. We can either value- add here or export if necessary. What farmers have been treating as a pest could easily become a valuable asset. Merino wool is worth about $10 a kg, possum hair probably worth about $100 a kg. You can get about 100 grams of hair off a possum, and a Bennets wallaby will be worth about the same weight and price. John Kelly, from Lenah Game Meats, has left no stone unturned in his efforts to get the possum harvesting plan through. John has a couple of small issues such as AQIS registration, but he seems very confident he can get it through. When all the boxes are ticked Lenah Game Meats will be able to export possums with the intention of selling the meat in South-East Asia, where they will be eaten just like chicken. Under present crop permits we cull between 250,000 and 300,000 possums per year, which are simply left to rot on the forest floor. The way they will be harvested will leave little room for concern because these possums will be harvested by professional harvesters who make their living and as such must be crack shots. At the present time Lenah Game Meats has a customer lined up who will take 100 tonnes of possum meat a year. This equates to about 50,000 carcasses. This customer is finalising his import permits, which will come through any day. The possum fibre will go to Tasmanian Natural Fibres (TNF), which will then contract Waverley Woollen Mills to spin and weave. This means that in Tasmania we will have our own Merino/possum mix just like New Zealand has done so successfully. TNF are certain that their garments will be superior to the ones produced ''across the ditch''. They are also going to do Bennets wallaby hair, but hope to do Rufus in the near future. The plan is to have three separate ranges --- possum hair, Rufus wallaby and Bennets wallaby. The value per kilogram, whether it be possum, wallaby or Bennets, will be about $100 per kilogram. Lenah Game Meats are selling Bennets wallaby meat to both Coles and IGA. Possums will be field-shot and gutted, then delivered within two hours of daylight to Lenah Game Meats where they will be inspected. If delivery is not within two hours of daylight they will have to be refrigerated. Plucking machines will take the hair from carcasses before the carcasses are packed off. In New Zealand, after the possum is shot the hair is plucked out while the animal is hot, then popped into a bag. Lenah Game Meats has its own contract shooters and will only deal with their own accredited shooters. John feels very strongly that this ensures a quality product. The licence allows other people to export and sell hair locally or sell overseas and is not the sole province of Lenah Game Meats. This initiative will deliver a boost for game management and will deliver value for what most consider a dreadful pest. This will not stop farmers and others from getting crop permits because great care has been taken to ensure that this doesn't happen. It appears that if Waverley can get up and running it will mean 20 new jobs. To me this shows what we can achieve if we all pull together. John talks in glowing terms of some of the politicians who have gone out of their way to help and get this up and running.
October 14th 2010
October 28th 2010