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