Pad­dock to plate in­spi­ra­tion

Central and North Burnett Times - - RURAL WEEKLY - Emma Field The Weekly Times

250,000 tonnes of du­rum is tipped to be ex­ported in bulk this year, mainly from New­cas­tle, NSW.

THE next time you go out for a bowl of spaghetti or car­bonara, it might just come from the Rethus fam­ily’s farm, if a gam­ble to di­ver­sify pays off.

The Rethus fam­ily, who farm west of Horsham, in Vic­to­ria, are plant­ing two pad­docks of du­rum wheat this year, the spe­cialty wheat used to make pasta prod­ucts.

Tim Rethus said his agron­o­mist con­vinced him to try du­rum wheat this year, which he thinks will “fit into our farm­ing sys­tems” and give his op­er­a­tion some diver­sity.

Mr Rethus farms with his brother Luke, fa­ther Ge­off and long-term em­ployee Glenn Pi­etch.

Be­sides the du­rum they will plant oaten hay, bread wheat, bar­ley, canola and lentils this year.

Mr Rethus said they were hop­ing to se­cure a con­tract with Ade­laide-based pasta maker San Remo, but he was en­cour­aged that Viterra were also in the mar­ket and other traders were in­ter­ested in ex­port­ing.

Kaniva farmer Al­wyn Dyer has been grow­ing du­rum for more than 20 years and said the se­cret was good in-sea­son ni­tro­gen man­age­ment to reach the high pro­tein re­quired as well as se­lect­ing pad­docks with low dis­ease and weed bur­den. He also said that in the past grow­ers were limited by their ge­o­graph­i­cal dis­tance to Ade­laide, where the ma­jor­ity of du­rum buy­ers re­quired the wheat to be shipped.

But Mr Dyer said this might change, with talk among the in­dus­try of some ex­porters ship­ping du­rum out in boxes.

Sources told The Weekly Times 250,000 tonnes of du­rum is tipped to be ex­ported in bulk this year, mainly from New­cas­tle, NSW.

Mr Dyer said last sea­son in his district some “very happy grow­ers” reached 6 tonnes/ha for their du­rum wheat, while oth­ers av­er­aged 4-5.5 tonne/ha, well above av­er­age.

PHOTO: YURI KOUZMIN

SEEK­ING PRETTY PENNE: Tim Rethus is in­clud­ing du­rum wheat in his crop­ping pro­gram this year at Horsham in Vic­to­ria.

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