Duxton’s Agri Bits and Pieces – Vol. 392
Posted on: August 31st, 2018


This week’s quote is from Savaram Ravindra, writing for IOT (Internet of Things) for all. The IOT is a network of devices (Cars, drones, kitchens Etc) that share data that can be accessed anywhere. Savaram describes how the IOT can is being adopted by the Agriculture sector.

“In IoT-based smart farming, a system is built for monitoring the crop field with the help of sensors (light, humidity, temperature, soil moisture, etc.) and automating the irrigation system. The farmers can monitor the field conditions from anywhere. IoT-based smart farming is highly efficient when compared with the conventional approach.”

These hi-tech systems are initially more capital-intensive but lead to more efficient use of inputs (water, fertilizer, treatments) and optimize yields.




An Australian university is turning tonnes of kitchen scraps into high-value fertiliser that is being sold to farmers in Asia.

James Cook University has become the first university in Australia to pioneer an innovative food waste disposal system known as the Bio-Regen. Designed and patented by Townsville-based company VRM, the machine grinds up food waste and mixes it with water and an inoculant containing special microbes. The resulting liquid is left to ferment in tanks for 28 days, after which it is collected by VRM and sold to farmers as a nutrient rich bio-fertiliser.

JCU environment manager Adam Connell said the system processed up to a tonne of food waste from three of the university’s commercial kitchens each week. “It was costing a huge amount of money to send this food to landfill and we said ‘there’s got to be a better way to do this’,” he said. “So we spoke to VRM … and they had been looking to trial this process throughout South East Asia … and we said we’d like to have a go at the university.”

Not all food products can be processed by the Bio-Regen system.

The machine has difficulty with large quantities of cooked chicken bones and fibrous materials such as corn husks, eggshells and onion skins. Those items and larger food waste products are processed by an alternative system known as the Groundswell. Source: ABC News, Tom Edwards, August 2018



BEIJING (Reuters) – China has ordered the world’s top pork producer, WH Group Ltd, to shut a major slaughterhouse as authorities race to stop the spread of deadly African swine fever (ASF) after a second outbreak in the planet’s biggest hog herd in two weeks.

The discovery of infected pigs in Zhengzhou city, in central Henan province, about 1,000 km (625 miles) from the first case ever reported in China, pushed pig prices lower on Friday and stirred animal health experts’ fears of fresh outbreaks – as well as food safety concerns among the public. Though often fatal to pigs, with no vaccine available, ASF does not affect humans, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

ASF has been detected in Russia and Eastern Europe as well as Africa, though never before in East Asia, and is one of the most devastating diseases to affect swine herds. It occurs among commercial herds and wild boars, is transmitted by ticks and direct contact between animals, and can also travel via contaminated food, animal feed, and international travellers.

WH Group said in a statement that Zhengzhou city authorities had ordered a temporary six-week closure of the slaughterhouse after some 30 hogs died of the highly contagious illness on Thursday. The plant is one of 15 controlled by China’s largest pork processor Henan Shuanghui Investment & Development, a subsidiary of WH Group. Zhengzhou city authorities have banned all movement of pigs and pork products in and out of the affected area for the same six weeks.

Source: Josephine Mason, Reuters, August 2018

HART OF THE WEEK The chart for this week is from data retrieved from ABARES Weekly commodity Reports. The past 12 months have seen wool prices go from strength to strength. The key factor, growth in Chinese exports.
As at the end of July prices are at 1,981 Ac/kg representing a 30% increase compared to 12 months prior.  China accounted for nearly 80% of Australia’s wool exports this year, up 3.5% YOY by volume and 20% by value. Prices could come under further pressure with forecast wool production falling by 2% due to drought conditions. Source: ABARES, Weekly Australian Climate, Water and Agricultural Update

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