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TAS Country : January 13th 2012
4 Tasmanian Country Friday, January 13, 2012 News Growers well-placed to reap sweet-smelling rewards From Page 3 serious disease that has severely re- duced production,'' Mr Smee said. This creates an ideal opportunity for Tasmania. ''Our trial plot at Hamilton is yield- ing impressive results, and at the field day we want to share the results and the opportunities that exist in lavender production with landowners.'' Mr Smee said Tasmania had already devel- oped a reputation for growing quality lavender products. ''Although the state's lavender his- tory is short by French standards, Tasmania has shown with the fine lavender oil production at Bridestowe Estate that it is well-placed to capitalise on France's production shortage.'' The trial crop at Hamilton, now in its second year, is in full flower and bursting with colour. ''Our business is looking to expand production over the next few years,'' Mr Smee said. ''The aim is to get 50ha planted, which will yield around two and a half tonnes. But this is still only a fraction of the overall world pro- duction for high-quality lavender oil, which is around 200 tonnes. Who knows, we may find we have to significantly increase our crop area if things take off.'' Mr Smee is looking for interested growers in the Hamilton, Cressy, Fing- al and Winnaleah districts, which are serviced by an essential oil distillery. Mr Smee said attendees at the field day on Wednesday would be given an insight into all aspects of lavender production --- including site selection, establishing the crop, managing the crop, harvesting and distillation --- plus a breakdown of what a typical crop might pay. Landowners interested in attending the field day can contact Sam Smee on 0409 249 922, or email sam@essentialoil- softasmania.com.au. Alpaca not on the menu yet ROGER HANSON TASMANIAN Alpaca growers look set to resist a push to commercial farming to create a market for meat. This is despite Australian Alpaca Association Ltd (AAA) director John Bell, from Western Australia, calling for groups of local alpaca owners to get together for commercial meat. ''The AAA is calling interested mem- bers' parties in each region to jointly participate in the development of com- mercial alpaca farming in Australia,'' Mr Bell said. However, in Tasmania the focus is on premium-quality fleece among the 67 registered studs. The largest stud has more than 200 alpacas. The premium fleece can fetch about $70/kg. Tasmanian Region AAA Ltd presi- dent Josiane Eve said Tasmanian studs were achieving excellent fleece quality and genetic improvements keeping up with interstate growers. ''The quaility was recently praised by an accredited AAA alpaca judge, Chris Williams,'' Mrs Eve said. ''He told us 'the quality here in Tasmania is up there with the best in the country'. ''Many studs continue to bring in new genetics to increase diversity and improvement. ''We currently do not have a com- mercial farmer here in the state, however, we did have a stud that did sell alpaca meat products.'' The AAA is currently pushing to start up a national commercial regis- ter. ''There are currently a few larger studs interstate that do provide high quality meat products, up to two tonnes, to restaurants with qualified chefs,'' she said. Alpacas, which are grass-fed, appeal to a health-conscious meat market. ''The meat is very lean, high in protein and low in cholesterol,'' Mrs Eve said. ''There is a growing trend for end to end Australian alpaca products. How- ever, because of the Tasmanian stud sizes it could limit growing for com- mercial meat. ''Some growers may not want to see their alpaca used in this way, prefer- ring to grow premium luxury fleece.'' Mrs Eve said there was still a high demand for the quality Tasmanian alpaca fleece. ''Because of their limited supply, alpacas still command high prices so many growers may not want to go down the commercial meat path'' Mrs Eve said. ''The fleece is used for many quality products from blankets, quilts and pillows to clothing and even carpets.'' Mr Bell said it would be up to individual growers or groups of growers to develop the meat and hides market within their own regions. Tasmanian alpaca farmers will be holding a promotional day on Parlia- ment Lawns at Salamanca tomorrow from 8.30am to 4pm to allow people to see the animals and talk with breeders. Tas on carrot mildew alert CARROT producers are warned to be on the lookout for the early onset of powdery mildew. Crop protection and seeds specialist Syngenta said the warmer summer months increased the risk. Syngenta technical expert Scott Mathew says that as temperatures increase so too does the likelihood of an outbreak of the fungus. ''While powdery mildew in carrots was only identified in Australia in 2007, what we know so far is that it finds the late summer months ideal as it thrives on warm and quite dry weather,'' Mr Mathew said. Since being first discovered in New South Wales four years ago, powdery mildew has now been found in Tas- mania, South Australia and Queens- land. An additional reason for growers to be on the lookout for the first sign of powdery mildew is because treatment is most effective before row closure. A dense canopy can prevent a sprayed fungicide reaching where it needs to treat and protect the crop. HAPPY: Vendors Winston and Stewart Archer at the Weymouth Farm lamb sale. Pictures: BRUCE MOUNSTER Prices fall, sellers happy BRUCE MOUNSTER LESS FAT: Meat industry veteran Phillip Robinson appraising a carcass ahead of the Greenhythe lamb sale. SECOND cross lamb prices at the 10th annual Weymouth Farm sale were about $25 a head cheaper than last year, vendor Stewart Archer said on Wednesday. But Stewart and Winston Archer, operators of the Weymouth Farm and Effingham properties in the Pipers River district, had no complaints about the prices fetched in the Elders Ltd sale of more than 7000 lambs. The Archers said last year's prices had been exceptional. They said they could still make money at this year's prices. Just as importantly, the Archers said there appeared to be enough head-room for their lamb finisher clients to make a dollar as well. ''If they can't make a dollar we are all in trouble,'' Stewart Archer said. The sale's top prices of $121 and $120 a head were paid by JBS Swift for two pens of 10 abattoir-ready lambs, the proceeds of which were donated to the St Michaels Association charity. JBS Swift also paid $119 for a full pen of abattoir-ready lambs. Most of the stores --- a mixture of White Suffolk, Poll Dorset and Romney lines crossed with Border Merinos --- sold in the $80 to $90 range, with a top price of $98. A follow-on sale at Gerald, Frank and Ed Archer's Greenhythe property was opened by meat industry veteran Phil- lip Robinson of Hobart wholesaler Robinson's Meats, who previously wor- ked for Bridgewater Abattoir, Richard- sons Meat Industries and Wignells. Ahead of the sale, Mr Robinson appraised an example of Greenhythe's dressed lamb carcasses. ''Shorn lambs will do better than woolly lambs,'' Mr Robinson said. ''Woolly lambs will not hang like that, the texture on the outside is not the same.'' Mr Robinson said he preferred carcasses with less fat around the eye muscle. Fat only went to waste now- adays and farmers were better off putting their efforts into producing a longer carcass, from which you could cut more meat. The sale, run by Elders in conjunc- tion with Richards Livestock Market- ing, fetched top prices of $120 and $117 a head from JBS for pens of abattoir- ready lambs. John Brown from Sassafras paid the top price of $98 for stores. The 1500 head Greenhythe offering included White Suffolk-composite cross Suffolk-composite second-cross lambs.
January 5th 2012
January 26th 2012