Queensland Agriculture, opportunities for growth

We’ve been in business since 1954. The Australian
apple has got a good, clean, green perception in overseas markets, so we’ve actually expanded
and developed into new varieties and new techniques. We’ve seen yields lift from 10 to 15 tonnes
per hectare to a current level of about 40 tonnes per hectare. Part of that strategy,
the industry in partnership with the Queensland Government decided to invest in developing
scab resistant apple varieties. The Kalei is the first apple that has come out of that
program. With Kalei, no sprays are required, so that’s a considerable saving for the growers.
With the new systems we’re developing between DAFF and the growers, with Kalei, we can produce
crops of between 80 and 100 tonnes per hectare, every year. So that’s going to be an important
factor in the drive towards higher producing systems going forward. And we have doubled
what the industry average was 15 years ago. The Australian beef is definitely known worldwide
and they trust our beast. Efficiency is the key to our industry. Here, if we’re not efficient,
we’re not competitive. And we were a full set Abattoir to Japan going back 15 years,
now we supply umpteen different countries. So it’s brought along a lot more break up
orders, what we say that it we’re breaking the beast down into smaller and smaller cuts,
so this shed here needs to produce full time. When I first started, I worked in the boning
room at Wingham Beef Exports, every afternoon, anyone older than 21 had to go downstairs
and load cartons for four hours, now we’re putting in robots to do exactly what we were
doing then. The automation comes in when the slicer places the primus on the belt, the
computer then recognises what that piece is, we’re packing the carton, labelling it up
so we know exactly what’s in that product and then we’re sending it off to be chilled.
And we’re able to load it out on the following day in a container. What it’s done is, its
reduce our storage time from probably two to three days down to 24 hours. And they’re
going to a wider range of destinations being it domestic or export.
So at the moment we have a co-investment between DAFF and GRDC which is the national mungbean
improvement project. They provide us with a grounding and a link to growers, but also
to markets at the other end of the value chain. Globally mungbean is a really important pulse
crop, especially in south east Asia, so we’re heavily reliant on overseas markets. The programs
had a really big effect and it’s really supported the industry to double its production to about
70,000 tonnes in the last 10 years. What we’re trying to do is to pull a lot of project opportunities
together, a lot of international research, and we’re working to breed new mungbean varieties
that are higher yielding and more disease resistant. I think Queensland Agriculture
has a really strong future and the recognition of the importance of tropical pulses is a
really solid grounding for meeting the government’s target of doubling agricultural production
by 2040. I guess to some extent we’re overwhelmed with opportunities at the moment.

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