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Agriculture stories

The following stories relate to Tasmania’s Agricultural sector:

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

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

Fruit fly ‘please explain’

The Tasmanian Government has asked for a ‘please explain’ after fruit fly larvae was found in an imported grapefruit bought from a Hobart grocery store in late March. The grapefruit had been treated at an approved facility in Victoria, prompting Primary Industries Minister, Sarah Courtney, to contact her Victorian counterpart asking for an explanation: “The fruit which transited through Victoria to Tasmania was certified treated, and so we are naturally very concerned how this has happened.” The Minister said an active investigation was underway around all aspects of this larvae discovery. However, she did stress that this was a ‘detection’ and not ‘an incursion’ meaning it did not require the setting up of a new exclusion zone: “It is important to recognise that no fruit flies have been detected outside the two control areas.” Fruit Growers Tasmania President, Nic Hansen, said this latest case raises concerns about the effectiveness of current fumigation methods which rely on methyl bromide: “When you look at world’s best practice for treatment, it doesn’t include methyl bromide, it’s all irradiation.” In the meantime, General Manager of Biosecurity Tasmania, Dr Lloyd Klumpp, said discovery of the larvae in the grapefruit after purchase demonstrated the effectiveness of the public awareness campaign: “That vigilance, that awareness and that proactivity in actually notifying us is very much appreciated.” Fruit fly was first detected in Tasmania in January on Flinders Island. Subsequent discoveries were made at Spreyton and Georgetown, where control zones have been set up.

11 April 2018, Edition 193

Historic harvest at Government House

Edition 193_GovtHouse

Tasmania’s grape harvest is in full swing, and this year the state’s thriving wine industry has a new player on the block – Government House. In a historic event, the first grapes grown in the stately gardens of Hobart’s Government House have been plucked off the vines.

11 April 2018, Edition 193

Brewers descend on Bushy Park

Edition 193_Hops

The world’s boutique brewers descended on the small village of Bushy Park for the annual hop harvest as the thirst for craft beer continues to explode.

11 April 2018, Edition 193

Ray Martin meets King Island kelpers

Edition 193_DavidBowling

When Ray Martin ventured to King Island in search of Tasmania's Stories to film, he expected a handful – but came back with a ‘swag-full’.

11 April 2018, Edition 193

Our whisky is world’s best again

Edition 193_SullivansCove

A Tasmanian whisky has been named best in the world again – even beating the Scots at their own game.

11 April 2018, Edition 193

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