Small really is good for Purcells
GOOD things come in small packages.
It might be an old saying but the idea has Monto’s Naomi and Kevin Purcell leading the charge on rural innovation with their compressed, vacuum-packed chaff operation.
“Packaging chaff into smaller bundles saves on transport costs, and it’s more convenient. It also retains its nutritional value for a lot longer when it is vacuum packed,” Mrs Purcell said.
“It’s thanks to this very unique machinery that was developed from scratch.”
The Purcells first came to town and bought the business, now called Seven Horses Australia, in 2011, after the machinery was invented by Monto local Snow Dwyer.
Earlier this year, the business was one of six in theWide Bay Burnett region to be selected as part of the Centre for Rural Innovation growth program.
They use top quality lucerne hay, as well as blends with barley, oaten, Rhodes and millet, and vacuum pack the equivalent of one conventional bag of chaff (30kg) into two shoebox sized blocks (14kg each).
“We are the wholesaler, but 95% of people who purchase from the retailers are horse owners, because it is so convenient when you travel with horses,” Mrs Purcell said.
“But people with alpacas, stud cattle and guinea pigs also buy it. The guinea pig owners don’t buy it by the pallets though!”
Although the pair is still sounding out overseas export markets, they trade in Queensland, New South Wales, and the Northern Territory and are pushing into Victoria.
“The interest in northern places is because our product has a big advantage in humid conditions. Baled hay might be mouldy even before you get it off the truck when you take it up around Atherton,” Mrs Purcell said.