With the specter of foot-and-mouth illness (FMD) at Australia’s doorstep, cattle farmer Ernie Camp says he was compelled to diversify his operations.
- Sometimes grown in Australia’s east, sorghum has been farmed in Queensland’s north
- Grazier Ernie Camp says farmers are being compelled to contemplate new operations as FMD threatens the cattle trade
- Native leaders say sorghum presents a number of worldwide and home alternatives
The veteran grazier and his household handle roughly 8,500 head of cattle throughout the 94,000-hectare Floraville Station within the distant group of Burketown in Queensland’s Gulf of Carpentaria.
For the primary time within the area’s historical past, Mr Camp has harvested 2,500 hectares of top-grade sorghum — a drought-resistant grain generally utilized in cereal, livestock feed, alcohol, and biofuel.
Australia is without doubt one of the greatest exporters of sorghum, which is primarily produced within the nation’s northern cropping belt within the east.
However after harvesting a first-rate product, Mr Camp mentioned there was a shiny future for farming the grain in northern Queensland.
Bolstering northern agriculture and assembly world demand
Mr Camp mentioned the expansion of a sorghum trade within the north would assist bolster farmers towards threats of illness and meet worldwide demand for the grain.
“We will not put all our eggs in a single basket,” he mentioned.
“We’d like agricultural selection in our predominantly cattle areas in order that we will diversify in case unique illnesses like FMD attain our shores.
“The gulf area has been recognized as a meals bowl to Asia.
“One factor that’s assured is that the world inhabitants is constant to develop, and we’re working out of land, so we have to open up these areas of agriculture to feed this rising world inhabitants.”
Challenges of distant farming
Whereas Mr Camp known as his first season a hit, he mentioned the isolation of his property posed massive challenges.
“The realm is kind of distant and getting merchandise in right here to seed the crop and even equipment is kind of tough,” he mentioned.
“It is the tyranny of distance.”
Regardless of some trial and error, Mr Camp mentioned the soil circumstances made for a top quality product.
“The fowl life has definitely had quite a lot of enjoyment feeding on the sorghum however no matter what tonnage we could or could not have gotten, it has confirmed that the soil can develop sorghum, the soil can retain moisture,” he mentioned.
“It is rather thrilling.”
Alternatives in biofuel and jobs: Katter
Member for Traeger and Katter’s Australian Celebration chief Robbie Katter mentioned a rise in home sorghum manufacturing would permit for a nationwide deal with biofuels.
The excessive sugar content material of sorghum is used to make ethanol, which is thought-about a extra environmentally pleasant different to petrol.
“The nation’s gasoline safety is in growing hazard, and with skyrocketing gasoline and fertiliser prices, strain is mounting on authorities to develop Australia’s biofuels capability,” Mr Katter mentioned.
He mentioned farming the grain additionally required extra employees.
“This type of farming requires an additional 10 instances the workforce to maintain the property working, that means bringing in additional households with extra job alternatives, and returning extra revenue to the group,” Mr Katter mentioned.
Mr Camp mentioned one other sorghum crop could be on its method as he additionally investigated different operations.
“I’ll definitely proceed with sorghum and take a look at different issues like beans, maybe. I am simply actually happy that we have confirmed it may be finished,” he mentioned.