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TAS Country : February 17th 2011
Friday, February 18, 2011 Tasmanian Country 9 News FLOWER POWER: A group of Japanese restaurateurs study a buckwheat crop near Bishopsbourne. Picture: ROSS MARSDEN Now we're the buckwheat isle KAROLIN MacGREGOR TASMANIA'S reputation as the apple isle has led to the development of the small but valuable niche crop buckwheat. In 1984 Japanese flour miller Rick Shiratori identified Tasmania as the ideal place to grow buckwheat, which needs similar climatic conditions to apples. Mr Shiratori approached the Heazlewood family from Heazlewood Seeds at Whitemore with his idea and the first buckwheat crops were soon in the ground. This week Mr Shiratori and a number of buyers and restaurateurs from Singapore and Japan visited Tasmania and saw first- hand some of this year's buckwheat crops on the Cresswell family's property near Bishopsbourne. Brenton Heazlewood said there had been a late start to the season because of wet conditions. But some of the state's early crops were now in full flower. This season there are about 80ha of buckwheat being grown across the state's north. Buckwheat is used to make traditional- styled noodles. ''I liken it to our potato chips,'' Mr Heazlewood said. ''They're used everywhere from high-end restaurants right through to takeways.'' Most of Tasmania's buckwheat, which is well known for its high quality and flavour, is used in up market restaurants in Singapore and Japan. ''The Japanese can tell if the buckwheat is fresh or if it's really good quality by the taste,'' Mr Heazlewood said. To get top quality flour, ideally the crops need significant differences between day and night time temperatures while they are maturing. ''What we need now is plenty of sunshine which gives it the nice flavour and then we need to start getting some cooler nights as the crops mature,'' Mr Heazlewood said. Some of this year's crops have been affected by recent flooding from record summer rainfall, but Mr Heazlewood said overall they were looking good. ''A bit of rain even now won't hurt them, it will probably do them good,'' Mr Heazlewood said. The buckwheat is grown under irrigation and will be harvested in April. Mr Heazlewood said demand for buckwheat varied from year to year and was often dependent on the health of the Japanese economy. ''At the moment demand is a bit flat because the Japanese economy has been down and people don't tend to go out as much and eat at the high-end restaurants,'' Mr Heazlewood said. Farm alarm at fatality fallout JENNIFER CRAWLEY THERE were 28 farm deaths in Tas- mania between 2001 and 2008, costing the Tasmanian economy $51 million, according to a new report. The deaths equate to just under seven per cent of the 404 fatalities on Australian farms in that period, cost- ing the Australian economy $650 mil- lion. A study on the economic impact of farm deaths was released at the Aust- ralian Agricultural and Resource Econ- omics Society Conference in Mel- bourne last week. ''This is a significant problem for Australian agriculture,'' report author Dr Kirrily Pollock said. Dr Pollock said she wanted to raise the profile of farm-related deaths. The $650 million national figure equates to 2.7 per cent of the rural sector's 2008 GDP. ''This is a conservative estimate,'' Dr Pollock said ''You cannot account for the emotional pain and personal suffering associated with farm deaths. And I couldn't include damage to equipment, lost agricultural production and a lot of health system costs.'' Dr Pollock counted the cost of fatalities specifically, not serious farm- related injuries, which also impose huge costs. ''Injuries that result in paraplegia or quadriplegia have an enormous cost in terms of rehabilitation and other re- quirements,'' she said. ''If you added the costs of long-term, permanent injuries and serious injur- ies requiring hospitalisation, the true cost of farm-related deaths and injuries to the Australian economy would be considerably higher.'' Research on the 404 deaths was obtained from the National Coroners Information System. Ambulance, police, hospital, prema- ture funeral, coronial, work safety authority investigation and death com- pensation costs were taken into ac- count. The costs associated with replacing employees and the impost of lost future earnings and lost household pro- duction were factors too. Most of the deaths were men (86 per cent) and fatalities most commonly involved those aged 65 years or older (26 per cent) followed by children aged under 15 years (17 per cent). The five most common causes of death were tractors, quad bikes, drown- ing, utilities and two-wheel motor- cycles. Tractor fatalities cost the economy $87 million, followed by quad bikes ($75 million) and drownings ($65 million). Solid outlook on dairy front DAIRY farmers can expect some price reprieve at the farm gate, if predictions released this week come true. In Monday's industry update, Dairy Australia said an average up to $5.50/kg of milk solids was achievable this season. It said exchange rates, commodity prices and sig- nals from manufacturers pointed to an average of $5.30-$5.50/kg of milk solids. Last year, southern pro- ducers averaged $4.30-$4.50/kg of milk solids, but prices may be up to 20 per cent higher this year if major southern manufac- turers improve their rates. The report said better prices were not the only good news for dairy far- mers, with demand from China and Russia keeping exports strong. There are also low stockpiles of dairy products throughout the US and Europe. Drought in New Zealand was also likely to be good for Australian producers, with production growth lower than previously ex- pected. However, recent floods in northern New South Wales and Victoria were seen as a major issue. Dairy Australia said the flooding was having more than just a short-term im- pact on dairy farmers in those regions. National milk pro- duction this year was ex- pected to come in at 9-9.1 billion litres, back slightly from September's outlook. The Weekly Times TASMANIAN ALKALOIDS Value Adding in Tasmania 2048615-08 After harvest clean up. Avoid future crop contamination by allowing poppy seed to germinate on the ground surface before deep ploughing or ripping. Your Field Officer can advise. 2054604-110211 JBS AUSTRALIA All types of Livestock required for processing at our Longford & Devonport Plants For a competative price ring our Livestock Buyers today JBS Australia Tasmanian Livestock Team Tom Archer Livestock Manager M 0419 310 701 Allan Boyce Livestock Buyer M 0419 310 698 Mathew Bosworth Livestock Buyer M 0438 912 161 Rohan Hadley Livestock Buyer M 0437 228 536 Jacob Last Livestock Buyer M 0458 921 397 JBS Australia would like to thank producers for their continued support.
February 10th 2011
February 24th 2011