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TAS Country : December 2nd 2010
Friday, December 3, 2010 Tasmanian Country 7 a natural in pyrethrum boom Tasmania has established itself as the world's biggest pyrethrum producer during the past two decades, and demand for the natural insecticide is on the rise, reports Karolin MacGregor Continued Page 12 PYRETHRUM grower Botanical Re- sources Australia was established in Tasmania in 2006 and the company has gone on to become one of the state's most successful agricultural industries. From those early days, the py- rethrum industry has gradually ex- panded and in the past few years production has jumped significantly as Tasmania has increased its mar- ket share. BRA manager of agricultural bu- sinesses Tim Groom said since 2007, declining production in other tra- ditional growing areas such as Kenya combined with steadily increasing demand had seen production in Tasmania ramped up. ''Since the oversupply was cor- rected in 2003-2004, the market has improved and with Kenya dropping off that's allowed us to increase our sales, so we've also had to increase production,'' Mr Groom said. Tasmania's climate is ideal for pyrethrum production as the crop prefers milder temperatures. Mr Groom said the Tasmanian industry was unique compared to traditional growing areas like Kenya, where the crop was grown in small areas and harvested by hand. ''There's no other country that grows it the way we do in broadacres with mechanical harvesting,'' he said. A successful research and develop- ment program run by BRA has improved agronomy for the crop dramatically during the past 20 years. This work has seen pyrethrum yields almost double. ''It is a challenging crop to grow,'' Mr Groom said. ''Weed control is one of the most critical issues and you have to do everything right.'' The company has also invested in a plant-breeding program which means some new pyrethrum varieties are being grown commer- cially. Crops around the state are now beginning to flower. Mr Groom said the expansion meant BRA crops were spread across the state from the far north-west through to the north-east and the Midlands. However, most of the crops are located on the North-West Coast. The company's processing plant at Ulverstone has also undergone sig- nificant expansions during recent years to cope with the extra product. Mr Groom said his company had increased its storage area at the factory to ensure they had enough room to store the pyrethrum flowers prior to processing. This season the company will harvest about 2700ha of the crop. That is up from 2000ha last season. It normally takes about 16 months from planting until pyrethrum pro- duces its first crop. Mr Groom said crops were nor- mally harvested between three and four times before they needed to be replaced. ''A lot depends on how the crop is managed and things like the soil type,'' Mr Groom said. ''Three or four harvests is what we try to aim for. But we've got one crop that's on its eighth harvest.'' Mr Groom said pyrethrum pre- ferred well drained soil and was not a particularly hungry crop. *Take your choice of $1000 of genuine Polaris Accessories only while stocks last. Offer ends 31/12/10 at participating Polaris dealers. Not valid with any other offer. Fleet buyers excluded. NOTHING RIDES LIKE A 1300 654 142 www.polarisindustries.com.au For a limited time only, when you purchase a new Polaris Ranger 500 at a participating dealer, you ll get an Outlaw 50 (value $2,395) for the kids FREE! Plus, we ll take $1000 off the recommend retail price of the Ranger 500! And we won t stop there, we ll also throw in $1000 worth of genuine Polaris accessories! If you don t want the Outlaw 50, take $2,395 off the price of any additional new Polaris vehicle. *
November 25th 2010
December 9th 2010