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Agriculture stories

The following stories relate to Tasmania’s Agricultural sector:

‘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

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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

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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

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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

Bumper crowds at Agfest

Sensational autumn weather ensured bumper crowds at Agfest 2018 with just over 65,000 people flocking to Quercus Park in Carrick; 3,000 more than last year. From its humble beginnings in 1983 – with 100 exhibitors at a local racetrack – Agfest has grown into one of Tasmania’s great events, showcasing the best the state’s agriculture has on offer. Thirty-five years later Agfest attracted more than 700 exhibitors for the three-day event in early May. Agfest is an agricultural machinery and field day, and the State’s largest rural event. As well as displays of all the latest agricultural machinery and products, Agfest is also a nod to the past with working displays of our pioneering agricultural industry, such as blacksmiths in action and draught horse demonstrations. However, the 4-WD demonstrations on the purpose built track complete with tricky terrain, including mud and waterholes, was again one of the biggest crowd pleasers. Agfest is also about investing in the farmers of the future with the event run by young volunteers from Rural Youth Tasmania. With Tasmanian agriculture now worth $1.5 billion a year it is no wonder Agfest continues to grow in strength. 

3 May 2018, Edition 194

Honey fight heats up

Pressure has intensified in the fight to save Tasmania’s Manuka honey brand, with calls for the Federal Government to step-up with financial support. A national campaign began last September after New Zealand producers moved to trademark the word ‘Manuka’, and Braddon MP, Justine Keay has called on the Turnbull Government to help fund the looming legal battle. Manuka honey is an important niche Tasmanian product and is derived from the tea tree, Leptospermum, a native of the state. There are currently five Manuka Honey producers in Tasmania. The honey is highly prized for its anti-bacterial, and other health properties, with a jar retailing for as much as $120. Demand is soaring, especially from Chinese consumers. Local honey producers – including Blue Hills which instigated the fight to protect the brand name – say they have proof that Manuka honey was produced in Tasmania years before New Zealand. Blue Hills co-owner, Nicola Charles, told ABC News that European honey bees were introduced to Tasmania eight years before New Zealand, “so we feel we have a moral case to still call it Manuka and not be cut out from a global market that’s got a potential to be a high revenue for Australia.”

11 April 2018, Edition 193

Top Tassie dairy farm

A family run business is ‘cream of the crop’ after being named the state’s top dairy farm. Remlap Farm – at Sisters Creek in the state’s north-west – won the 2018 Tasmanian Dairy Business of the Year award in mid-March. Remlap Farm has been owned by the Palmer family for 33 years, and supplies milk to Murray Goulburn. Over the years the Palmers have gradually expanded the business through the buying up of neighbouring farms enabling cow numbers to increase from 133 to 1,000. Competition for the award was tight, with the Palmers facing off against some of their best friends: “I was up against some great dairy farmers – two are my best mates,” part-owner Michael Palmer said. “We like to stir each other up, but also help each other out a fair bit.” Organisers said the award was given to the farm scoring the best results on a number of benchmarks: “The Remlap team scored particularly well on aspects of financial performance and herd management, particularly in relation to herd nutrition and young stock management,” award spokesperson, Lesley Irvine, said. “The profitability of Remlap has been boosted by individual feeding based on milk production, and a focus on managing pasture to maximise growth and consumption.”

11 April 2018, Edition 193

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