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Agriculture stories

The following stories relate to Tasmania’s Agricultural sector:

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

James is pick of the crop

James Clements, 41 years old, is the ‘pick of the bunch’ having just been named young grower of the year by Fruit Growers Tasmania. The Derwent Valley farmer told Tasmanian Country: “To be regarded at the same level as some very experienced, successful orchardists is quite a compliment.” Mr Clements manages a 60ha cherry farm for Wandin Valley Farms at Rosegarland, and also said a new 25ha cherry block he helped develop would have contributed to his win: “We had been looking for a suitable block for a while. We managed to find one literally across the road…We put a lot of effort into surveying the block so that we got all the drainage and water systems right from day one.” The new block was planted in 2017 and Mr Clements expects the first significant crop to be harvested by 2022.

3 July 2018, Edition 196

Farmers have your say

The call has gone out for Tasmania’s farmers and producers to have a greater voice in the future direction of the state’s vitally important agricultural sector. Interested parties are encouraged to take part in a major survey that is being conducted by the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA). The TasAgFuture survey has already completed 100 in-depth interviews, but now organisers are keen to add another 1,000 opinions to this list. The survey will help the TIA map out the future focus for the sector; how to create value; best ways to support sustainable growth; and ways to ensure the sector remains competitive into the future. The TIA is confident the survey will also help develop a greater understanding of the drivers of change for Tasmanian producers and farmers, as well as examining the changing needs of research and development. If you would like to have your say and fill out a survey just visit: www.utas.edu.au/tia/tasagfuture.

3 July 2018, Edition 196

‘All apples’ with cartoons

One of Tasmania’s biggest apple producers has turned to cartoon characters of iconic Tasmanian wildlife to grab the attention of Asian buyers. Hansen Orchards had huge success last year with its pre-packed ‘Tasmanian Tiger Fuji’ and is planning on extending this novel branding to other varieties, with Howard Hansen telling one trade publication: “The Asian market, in particular Hong Kong, really like these brands that include what we refer to as cartoon characters. The cartoon character of ‘Tiger Fuji’ has been so successful we thought we’d get traction into other varieties.” This year Hansen will also be selling the ‘Tasmanian Devil Gala’ and a ‘Kanga Ruby Gold’. While Mr Hansen said apple exports out of Tasmania were only a fraction of what they used to be, there have been consistent sales into China and Hong Kong. Hansen Orchards has recently finished harvesting and reports an excellent season with volumes up. “Trademark varieties of Jazz and Envy are where we are seeing the most significant growth,” Mr Hansen said.

12 June 2018, Edition 195

Winter hopes for fruit fly victory

The Tasmanian Government is confident Tasmania’s fruit fly will be successfully eradicated during the colder winter months. Control area restrictions would remain in place until the state is declared fruit fly free. Primary Industries Minister, Sarah Courtney, said: “Modelling conducted by the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture shows that the likelihood of fruit fly surviving long enough over winter is extremely low and Biosecurity Tasmania is also confident that the treatments applied at infected sites will result in eradication.” The Minister said Biosecurity Tasmania would continue to work alongside industry representatives throughout winter to provide assistance, and is maintaining border protections, inspections and monitoring of more than 1000 fruit fly traps. Our primary producers are also confident the devastating pest would soon be eradicated, with Tasmanian Fruit Growers President, Nick Hansen telling ABC News: “The program as it’s rolled out has been fantastic and I fully believe...that full eradication will follow in the spring and our (pest free status) will be returned in late spring to early summer.” As at the end of April, $5.5 million had been spent on fruit fly eradication, with a provision of up to $8 million allocated by the State Government for this coming financial year. In February, Tasmania was put on alert after a nectarine was found to be infested with fruit fly larvae in Devonport.

12 June 2018, Edition 195

Expressions of Interest for Trade Mission

Tasmanian businesses are being invited to join a Trade Mission that Premier Will Hodgman will be leading to Asia later in the year. Expressions of Interest are being sought from businesses that wish to be involved in the Mission that will visit key markets, including China and Hong Kong, in September. Capitalising on the current boom in Tasmanian exports, the delegation will focus on agribusiness, Antarctic affairs, tourism and trade. As the Premier explained: “By taking Tasmania to the world we can continue to remain competitive and open up new opportunities in global markets for Tasmanian businesses.” Tasmania’s export sector is worth $3.5 billion annually, and over the last 12 months alone that figure has jumped by 36%. Expressions of Interest to join the 2018 Trade Mission to Asia close on June 29. For further information visit: www.stategrowth.tas.gov.au

12 June 2018, Edition 195

Tassie spirits explosion

Edition 195_TasSpirits

A Tasmanian vodka made from sheep’s whey, has been crowned world’s best as the popularity of our ‘other spirits’ continues to explode.

12 June 2018, Edition 195

Acclaim for Flinders food fest

Edition 194_Crayfish

Enormous crayfish plucked from Bass Strait and smoked over an open fire were the star attraction at a new food festival on Flinders Island which is generating widespread interest.

8 May 2018, Edition 194

Sparkling future for Tassie wines

Edition 194_SparklingWine

Tasmania’s wine sector is booming: a new report hails it as a $115 million industry, a ‘cracking’ vintage is just wrapping up, and our sparkling stars are setting the world alight.

8 May 2018, Edition 194

Delicious golden oil

A golden oil produced in a farm kitchen on the edge of the Tarkine wilderness has won a prestigious award, for the second year in a row. The GM-free canola oil, made by Hill Farm Preserves in north-west Tasmania, is one of the state winners in the Produce Awards announced by delicious. magazine. The awards celebrate Australia’s best tasting primary produce as nominated by leading chefs. Hill Farm Preserves manufactures artisan condiments and preserves from natural ingredients that are bottled and labelled by hand. No colours, artificial flavours or preservatives are added. Their award-winning product is also the only food-grade cold pressed canola made in Tasmania. Hill Farm Preserves owner, Karin Luttmer, is thrilled by the win: “To be judged a state winner two years in a row by hospitality trade leaders is wonderful. This oil is special and deserves a place in every kitchen. It’s so versatile,” she said.  A total of 15 Tasmanian producers were nominated as state winners in the delicious. awards including makers of honey, organic milk and sea salt. The national winners will be announced in August.

3 May 2018, Edition 194

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