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Agriculture stories

The following stories relate to Tasmania’s Agricultural sector:

A ‘quacking’ success

From chickens to ducks. That’s the career trajectory of former chicken industry worker, Matthew Crane, who is now successfully running Tasmania’s first pastured duck farm. We are all used to hearing about free-range chicken and grass-fed beef. Well, now duck is going designer as well. On his small farm south of Launceston, Crane is tapping into the boutique, free-range market, producing local pasture-fed duck meat; and it seems the local restaurants and butchers just can’t get enough. “You can definitely taste the difference in our product; it has a more earthy flavour and the colour of the fat is more yellow,” Crane told The Mercury. In fact, things are going so well Crane is hoping to cash in on the huge popularity of duck in Asia, and is eyeing off the export market. In the meantime, his small flock of happily roaming feathered friends continues to thrive. As they say, great weather for ducks! “Tasmania has the ideal climate for ducks because it’s cool and ducks don’t cope well with heat,” Crane explains.

14 October 2018, Edition 199

On the sheep’s back

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An innovative Tasmanian not-for-profit organisation is helping farmers – such as Fiona Hume who tends Australia’s largest flock of rare English Leicester sheep – realise their dreams.

14 October 2018, Edition 199

January end for fruit fly

Tasmania is expected to be fruit-fly free by January, according to the State Government. However, Primary Industries Minister, Sarah Courtney cautions that, “a number of factors will come into play to determine this, including finding no further fruit flies in spring, and importantly our trading partners accepting that Queensland Fruit Fly is no longer present in Tasmania". She added that the Government is also “supporting affected fruit growers to prepare their businesses for the coming season, until our pest free area status is officially reinstated and control zones can be lifted". A 15-kilometre exclusion zone was put in place around Spreyton, in the north-west, after the discovery of fruit fly larvae in January. The zones around George Town and on Flinders Island also remain in place.

12 September 2018, Edition 198

Kelp crop for salmon farmer

Tassal produces some of the world’s best salmon, but now it is also producing world-class giant kelp. In November the company expects to harvest its first seaweed crop, which has been growing next to fish pens at Oakhampton Bay on Tasmania’s East Coast. Tassal says the kelp crop reduces the company’s environmental footprint, as it helps balance the delicate marine environment. Tassal Head of Environment explained to The Mercury that emissions from salmon farming were soluble nutrients and giant kelp uses those nutrients for growth. Tassal’s move into seaweed is also motivated by a desire to regenerate Tasmania’s famous – but fast disappearing – kelp forests. Giant kelp is one of the quickest growing plants in the world. It can grow up to 50 centimetres a day and reach heights of 30 metres. The giant kelp forests on the Tasman Peninsula are one of the state’s biggest diving drawcards, and Tassal has also been involved in their preservation. It is forecast that by 2020 the world’s seaweed industry will be worth around $20 billion, and giant kelp from Tasmania’s clear, nutrient rich waters, is amongst the most highly valued in the world. As well as being edible, alginates from processed kelp are a key in numerous manufacturing processes, such as in the food industry where alkalines are used as thickeners.

12 September 2018, Edition 198

Fields of green

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Lured by Tasmania’s lush green pastures, the Jackman family gathered up their herd of gentle red cows, and headed south to set up a dairy farm.

12 September 2018, Edition 198

Tassie’s avocado magic

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Tasmania’s next boom crop may well be none other than that much-loved tropical fruit – avocados.

13 August 2018, Edition 197

The insect rebellion

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Fried crickets sprinkled on tostadas. Insect infused elderberry sauce. Snapper topped with mealworms. These are just some of the ‘Rebel Foods’ appearing on Tasmanian menus, as locally-farmed insects push food frontiers.

13 August 2018, Edition 197

Taste of the Tarkine

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Artisan food crafted on the edge of the Tarkine wilderness is in big demand the world over, and further evidence that the north-west really is ‘Tasmania’s Pantry’.

11 July 2018, Edition 196

World’s best – again

Edition 196_Lubiana

An incredible hat-trick for Tasmania’s Stefano Lubiana Winery, which has just won world’s best bio-dynamic wine at a prestigious London show – for the third year in a row.

10 July 2018, Edition 196

December fruit-fly target

Fruit fly restriction zones in the north are expected to be in place for at least another six months. Fruit Growers Tasmania said mid-December is the earliest date that Tasmania would be able to regain its fruit-fly-free status, with president, Nick Hansen, saying this would depend on a number of factors. He told ABC News: “Fruit fly at present is in a winter hiatus, in that there is no field work progressing because [of] the temperature and the conditions within the Tasmanian winter. Programs will be in place in the spring to continue the ground work when temperatures start to increase.” He added if everything went well in spring, and no detections were incurred within the control area, then “re-instatement can be applied for to the Commonwealth government.” A 15-kilometre exclusion zone was put in place around Spreyton, in the north-west, after the discovery of fruit fly larvae in January. The zones around George Town and on Flinders Island also remain in place.

3 July 2018, Edition 196

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Edition 204_FireSculpture

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16 April 2019, Edition 204

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