Multi Water-Use in Agricultural Landscapes
Our Rural Landscape: Sustainable Development through Innovation
Final Report for ORL 1.3
ISBN 978-1-74199-492-6 (Print)
ISBN 978-1-74199-493-3 (Online)
Red Cliffs – Tony Taylor & staff, Col & Travis Beasley & staff and Bruno Moras & staff;
Kyabram – the Mueller family (Ray, Brad, Judy and Toni); Wyuna LAP - Doug Small and Brian Sullivan.
Project team support:
DPI Snobs Ck - Duncan Hill, Morgan Edwards, Brendan Larkin, Hui King Ho, Brett
Ingram, Neil Hyatt and Matt Schwer; DPI Irymple – Andrew Brastrup, Daniel Mansell, Ken Sloan, Aaron
Blume, Lyn Jacka and Scott McLean; DPI Tatura – Andy McAllister, Chelsea Nicholson and Rebecca Lukies.
DPI (CAS) Agribusiness Regional Development – David Shearer, Dominic O’Brien, Ross
Clarke, Bryan Balmer, Tim Roache and Brendan Larkin.
Other DPI support:
Key Project Manager - Greg Buchanan; ORL sub-project 2.3 – Brett Ingram and 4.1 –
Ruth McGowan; NVI Cool Chain – Kaye Coates and Heather Haines; AD TSSD – Brendan Larkin; Agriculture
Victoria Services P/L – Andrew Grace.
Goulburn-Broken Catchment Management Authority – Ken Sampson; Mallee Catchment
Management Authority – Glen Sutherland & Kelly Fyfe; Barwon Water – Peter Ashton and Mike Paine; Lower
Murray Water – Peter Ebner and Owen Russell; Sunraysia Mallee Economic Development – Andrew Millen;
Swan Hill Rural City Council – Gary Tepper; Grand Hotel, Mildura - Stefano de Pieri ; Yabby Blue P/L - George
Faltiska; McRoberts Aquaculture – Ian McRoberts; Aquatunnel - Andrew Newton; Sunraysia Chickens.
Water in Australia is an increasingly limited and valued resource. This project investigates multiple water-use in agricultural landscapes as a means to add value and sustainability to water resources. Aquaculture is a non-consumptive user of water and the integration of aquaculture and agriculture systems is a logical, systems approach to enhancing the profitability and sustainability of irrigated farming.
The objectives of this project were to:
- Develop, evaluate and demonstrate new production systems and species suitable for multiple use of agricultural water, and to
- Develop, analyse and benchmark aspects of selected multi water-use systems in agricultural landscapes.
The project strategy was to integrate aquaculture of Murray cod and other finfish with existing irrigated horticulture and dairy in the Sunraysia and Shepparton Irrigation Regions respectively. The project also investigated the potential for aquaculture use of treated urban wastewater. In all cases the concept assumes that the water remains for final agricultural use after being first used by aquaculture.
Demonstration sites were established with farmer partners on existing horticulture farms at Red Cliffs (aquaculture use of surface irrigation water) and on a dairy farm at Kyabram (aquaculture use of saline groundwater), where pilot trials were evaluated system performance and fish production. Also, a bio-economic model was developed for cost benefit analyses of production, markets and industry networks, and to analyse and benchmark water use trends and available water resources.
Project findings indicate technical and economic feasibility, and significant commercial opportunity, for open-water farming of Murray cod in fresh irrigation water held in private irrigation storage dams in north-western Victoria. Production capability has been demonstrated and new export markets have been tested. Commercialisation of Murray cod aquaculture by farmer partners is presently underway. Opportunities for use of saline groundwater have been investigated and indications are that the concept is technically feasible but further development of production systems is required before realistic cost-benefit analyses can be completed.
A new and emerging value chain has been developed as a result of this project, based primarily on open-water farming of Murray cod in north-western Victoria, but with opportunity for enhancing development of other parts of the chain and for new innovation and investment in production technologies, products and markets. This is also expected to be achieved in an entirely complementary way to ongoing irrigated horticulture and dairy enterprises in Victoria without any net increase in water consumption.
Likewise, the use of urban wastewater is considered to be technically feasible and, theoretically, sufficient resources and markets exist for commercial scale enterprise. However, further R&D is required to be able to effectively manage risks associated with commercialisation and industry investment. Future agricultural water pricing and availability will likely dictate the need for such research and development.
1. Project Background
|Project title:||Multi Water-Use in Agricultural Landscapes|
|Project leader:||Geoff Gooley
|Project team:||Marissa Bailey, Nigel Abery, Michael Bretherton and Fiona Gavine|
1.2 Project Context
Our Rural Landscape (ORL) is a four-year science based program funded as part of the Victorian Government’s Innovation Statement, centred on the sustainable development of Victoria’s primary industries. The State Government has invested $50 million in the program from 2003 to 2007.
The ORL program aims to increase the value of agriculture per unit of natural resource, balancing economic productivity and social outcomes with resource use efficiency and protection of the environment.
As one of four complementary sub-projects within the ORL Sustainable Farming Systems Key Project, the focus of this project is on the use of agricultural water, and specifically the need to add value and sustainability to an increasingly limited and costly natural resource through development and adoption of a multiple use approach.
This project recognises that the role of the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) in supporting Victoria’s agrifood production sector extends across both agriculture and fisheries (including aquaculture), and that many of the drivers of change for this sector have a common starting point in the commercial use of water resources.
DPI’s role in water has been clearly defined and, for the purpose of ‘promoting efficient and responsible water use in primary industries’ (DPI 2005), includes the need to:
- Improve water use efficiency;
- Move water to higher value uses, and
- Utilise alternative sources of water.
Consistent with DPI’s role, this project addresses various aspects of these needs at a time when the social, economic and environmental sustainability of agricultural water use is being challenged by the impacts of prolonged drought in south-eastern Australia and more generally by the emerging impacts of climate change. Increasingly farmers are needing to change practices to maintain capability and profitability. Opportunities for farmers to implement new, diversified farming systems based on high value production, without increasing net water consumption, are considered to be highly relevant.
1.3 Project Rationale
Irrigated agriculture in Australia is the major user of natural water resources and generates significant wealth from agrifood production. Water consumption estimates in Australia for 2004-05 indicate that the agricultural industry had the highest consumption of any other sector, estimated at 12,191 GL (65%) of the total, a decrease of approximately 15,000 GL from 2000/01 (ABS 2006a), due primarily to prevailing drought conditions. Irrigated agriculture specifically accounted for 90.5% of the total agricultural water use in 2004/05 (ABS 2006b).
Most irrigated agrifood production in Australia is derived from the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB), with an estimated gross value of $13.6 billion in 2000/01 (39.7% of Australian total)(MDBC 2007). Irrigation water supplies within the MDB include surface, groundwater and, more recently and to a much lesser extent, recycled wastewater.
Within Victoria, total consumptive water use for 2004/05 has been estimated as 5,368,000 ML, of which 91% is from surface water, 7.5% from groundwater and the remainder from recycled water. Of this total, irrigation water use accounted for 77% (majority in the MDB) of the state’s total water consumption (DSE 2006).
Recent trends in market trading of irrigation entitlements in Victoria have highlighted the substantive shift in water use, within and between major irrigation regions within the northern Victorian reaches of the MDB. Additionally, recycled urban wastewater is now being actively considered by government, industry and the general community as a valuable additional water resource, which until now has been relatively under utilised (ABS 2006a; DSE 2004; RadCliffe 2004).
The present study
Despite considerable gains of recent years in Australia in relation to on-farm, water use efficiency, much of irrigated agriculture use of water is still based on a ‘single use’ paradigm i.e. water is diverted for a single (terminal) application to a single crop. This is particularly so in the irrigated dairy and horticulture sectors of the Shepparton and Sunraysia Irrigation Regions of northern Victoria respectively.
A feature of the irrigated horticulture sector in north-western Victoria is the new, private irrigation developments resulting from expansion of wine and table grape, almond and olive production. These developments are mostly located immediately adjacent to the established irrigation regions managed by regional water authorities.
These developments have driven a significant shift in water trading trends of recent times, with more than 200,000 ML traded since 1993/94 (approximately $275 million worth of water at recent prices), of which more than 50% has been traded in the last three years to 2005/06; a net trade of more than 50% of new permanent entitlements in to the region (Fig. 1). This equates to about 15,000 Ha in new irrigation from more than 130 new developments (SunRise 21 2007).
Fig. 1. Permanent trade of water to 2005/06 within north-western Victoria (Nyah to SA border) (SunRise21 2007).
A feature of these new developments is the construction of large-scale, private water storage dams which are designed to provide security and consistency of supply to irrigators during peak demand periods. In addition to the water itself, this infrastructure represents a major capital and operating cost for farmers, for which an appropriate return on investment is critical to farm profitability.
Salinity management within these irrigation regions is an ongoing need, due largely to the impacts of saline groundwater and rising water tables impacting on agricultural productivity and also environmental integrity of the natural landscape. Public and private salinity interception schemes have been developed throughout the MDB as part of the management response to this problem, which is jointly addressed by relevant state government agencies, water authorities, catchment management authorities and private landholders.
In the Central Goulburn district of the Shepparton Irrigation Region, public and private groundwater bores have been constructed to facilitate groundwater pumping as part of an overall sub-surface drainage approach to salinity management. These bores have varying degrees of yield and water quality, which ultimately determines efficacy for salinity mitigation and potential use for conjunctive irrigation (shandying of saline groundwater with fresh surface water). Many saline bores are underutilised as they are low yielding and of limited value for irrigation due to salinity levels exceeding agronomic limits.
In terms of the two irrigation regions of interest to this study, major socio-economic changes are underway in Victoria due to water market forces and trading trends which indicate a shift of water entitlements out of the Shepparton Irrigation region, and into the Sunraysia Irrigation Region. The future viability of small-scale, irrigated dairy and horticulture enterprises is unclear, with marginal profitability in many cases aggravated by increasing costs and reduced availability of water.
Integration of agriculture and aquaculture
The concept of integrating agriculture and aquaculture (the commercial production of aquatic plants and animals) as part of irrigated farming systems in Australia has been previously described, along with the potential for industry development (Gooley 2000; Gooley et al 2001; Gavine & Gooley 2002; Gooley and Gavine 2003).
The merit of this concept is primarily based on the fact that aquaculture is effectively a non-consumptive user of water for agrifood production (fish are regarded as agrifood for the purposes of this study). The integration of aquaculture and agriculture has the potential to generate new foods, diversify existing business enterprises, and to increase farm productivity without increasing net water consumption (Gooley and Gavine 2003).
Irrigation water sources suitable for aquaculture include fresh and saline, surface and groundwaters, and under certain circumstances, recycled wastewater from agricultural and urban (industrial and domestic) supplies. Aquaculture is able to use existing infrastructure such as storage dams, pumps, reticulation systems and general farm maintenance plant and equipment. Aquaculture based on first use of irrigation water has the potential to significantly offset farm fertiliser costs once the (effluent-based) nutrient rich water is put to final use on crops and pasture (Gooley and Gavine 2003).
1.4 Key Stakeholders
Sunraysia Irrigation Region
Key stakeholders in the Sunraysia Irrigation Region were irrigated horticulture farmer partners, who were both inkind co-investors and next users. The project also involved local government economic development personnel, and people involved with the domestic and export agrifood market chain.
Farmer partners, for which a formal Land-Use Agreement was established with DPI for the term of the project, were all located in the Red Cliffs district of the Sunraysia Irrigation Region, and consisted of the following companies:
- Thurla Farms P/L (Contact: Col Beasley);
- Tony Taylor & Sons P/L (Contact: Tony Taylor), and
- Treviso Estate P/L (Contact: Bruno Moras)1
Each farmer partner provided free and ready access to selected water storage dams and water on farms under their ownership/management, as well as additional inkind support through provision of supplementary labour, operational information, power and ancillary infrastructure and services for maintenance, security and general communication and extension of project findings. On this basis, the project established major demonstration sites at each of three farms for different case studies and associated trials.
The three farmer partners were considered to be the target next-users for the project in the Sunraysia Irrigation Region. Non-targeted next-users, linked to these three farmer partners, included other ‘new irrigation development’ farmers (with access to large-scale, private irrigation storage dams) in the region, the general farming community (including farm employees and local service providers).
1 Noted that this business has subsequently changed hands.
Other stakeholders and collaborators included:
- The Grand Hotel, Mildura (Contact: Stefano De Pieri and Peter Webley);
- Yabby Blue P/L, Melbourne (Contact: George Faltiska);
- Sunraysia Mallee Economic Development (Contact: Andrew Millen) and Swan Hill Rural City Council (Contact: Garry Tepper);
- Lower Murray Water (LMW)(Contacts: Peter Ebner and Owen Russell);
- Mallee Catchment Management Authority Contacts: Glen Sutherland and Kelly Fyfe), and
- McRoberts Aquaculture (Contact: Ian McRoberts).
Other DPI projects that collaborated with this project were:
- ORL 2.3 Future Aquaculture (Contact: Brett Ingram);
- ORL 4.1 Innovation in ORL (Contact: Ruth McGowan);
- NVI Cool Chain (Contacts: Kaye Coates and Heather Haines), and
- CAS Agribusiness (Contacts: David Shearer, Brendan Larkin, Tim Roache, Dominic O’Brien, Bryan Balmer and Ross Clarke).
Shepparton Irrigation Region
Key stakeholders in the Shepparton Irrigation Region include an irrigated dairy farm business (R, J, B & T Mueller P/L), located near Kyabram within the Central Goulburn district of the Shepparton Irrigation Region, the Wyuna Local Area Planning (LAP) group and the regional irrigated dairy farming community, the Goulburn-Broken Catchment Management Authority (G-B CMA) and DPI CAS (Tatura).
The farmer partners (Ray and Brad Mueller) provided free and ready access to farm-based land and saline groundwater under their ownership, as well as additional inkind support through provision of supplementary labour, operational information and ancillary infrastructure and services for maintenance, security and general communication and extension of project findings. A formal Land-Use Agreement was established with DPI for the term of the project, and a major demonstration site was established on this farm for delivery of a case study and associated trials.
The Wyuna LAP group was the relevant DPI/farmer consultative body for this sub-catchment, which is located within the Goulburn-Broken catchment. Contacts for the Wyuna LAP Group were Doug Small and Bryan Sullivan. Other stakeholders were DPI CAS, Community Consultation, Tatura (Contacts: Chelsea Nicholson and Rebecca Lukies), and G-B CMA (Contact: Ken Sampson).
The Kyabram farmer partner and the Wyuna LAP Group were considered to be the target next-users for the project in the Shepparton Irrigation Region. DPI CAS (Tatura) facilitated and coordinated community consultation with local dairy farmers, including formal engagement of the Wyuna LAP, and extension of project findings to next-users. The G-B CMA was a key stakeholder (with interest in more effective use by farmers of low yielding saline bores) and cash co-investor in the demonstration site established at the Mueller dairy farm. ORL 2.3 was the major supplier of fish seedstock for trials undertaken at this site.
Regional Water Authorities
Apart from the specific role played by LMW as a key stakeholder in relation to project activities in the Sunraysia Irrigation Region, all regional water authorities were targeted as next users/key stakeholders for project activities investigating aquaculture use of recycled urban wastewater.
Co-investment in the project by regional water authorities was primarily through the inkind provision of wastewater data for specific water treatment plants within each water region of Victoria. The most detailed and relevant data for the analysis undertaken by the project was provided by LMW (Contacts: Peter Ebner and Owen Russell) and Barwon Water (Contacts: Peter Ashton and Mike Paine), and along with Melbourne Water (as the largest urban water authority in the State), these authorities are target next-users for project findings relating to aquaculture use of recycled urban wastewater.
The aim of this project was to develop, evaluate and demonstrate how to increase the value and sustainability of water used commercially in Victorian agricultural landscapes through application of innovative multi-use systems and comparative benchmarking. Specific objectives were:
1. To undertake case studies at selected sites to develop, evaluate and demonstrate:
- innovative, integrated, multi-use production systems for both irrigation and nutrient-rich and saline wastewater, and
- new terrestrial and aquatic plant and animal agrifoods and associated supply chains for such systems.
2. To benchmark existing water-use value and sustainability within selected agrifood production systems and regions in order to establish new standards, including the setting and monitoring of management targets, and to facilitate positive change in regional community attitudes.
The ‘systems and agrifoods’ were based on aquaculture production of selected finfish species. These objectives remained unchanged throughout the project, although some variations were necessarily made to the methods, deliverables and associated milestones and budgets during the delivery of this project, for various technical, resource and logistical reasons. Consequently, the projected outcomes for the project varied from original specifications, based on the previously stated variations; the details of which are summarised in relevant sections of this report.
The strategy for delivery of the project’s objectives was based on delivery of four separate case studies, of which:
- two were field-based, at the project demonstration sites established with farmer partners at Red Cliffs in the Sunraysia Irrigation Region (Case Study #1 – three sites) and at Kyabram in the Shepparton Irrigation Region (Case Study #2 – one site), and
- two were desk-top (Case Study #3 and 4), undertaken by the project team and various collaborative co-investigators.
Case study #1, 2 and 3 (part) were designed collectively to address Objective #1 of this project. Case Study #3 (part) and 4 were designed to address Objective #2.
Case Study #1 ‘Multi Use of Irrigation Storage Dams’
|Fig. 2. Aerial view of new irrigation developments in Red Cliffs district of Sunraysia Irrigation Region, NW Victoria.|
This case study “Integrated Agri-Aquaculture Systems application in the Sunraysia Irrigation Region, Victoria”, was based at the three demonstration sites designed, constructed and commissioned by the project, in partnership with farmer partners, at Red Cliffs, near Mildura in north-western Victoria. The purpose of this case study was to develop, evaluate and demonstrate a farming systems approach to the integration of ‘open-water’, finfish aquaculture and irrigated horticulture within the Sunraysia Irrigation Region. Case Study #1 consisted of two major trials (Trial #1 & 2) carried out collectively over a three year period from 2004 to 2007. The specific objectives, experimental design and methods for each trial are detailed in Gooley et al. (2007a,b).
In summary, the demonstration sites consisted of floating, semi-intensive fish production systems located within the storage dams (connected to the bank via floating walkways). The main function of the dams was to provide irrigation water to grape crops (wine and table varieties). In this case study, the aquaculture gains first use of surface irrigation water, after which it is directed to crops for second and final use.
The three farms were all supplied with irrigation water piped from the Murray River, and were all located within several kilometres of each other and therefore subject to similar ambient climatic conditions. The dams themselves however varied in size, design and substrate, which caused differences in water quality, particularly turbidity.
The open-water, fish production systems included:
- Site #1 (Thurla): Floating cages; fish held in mesh netbags suspended from poly extruded floatation collars); predominantly passive water exchange;
- Site #2 (Taylors): Floating tanks (Semi Intensive Floating Tank System® - SIFTS); fish held in round, poly membrane tanks suspended from poly extruded floatation collars; active, air-lift water exchange through the tanks, and
- Site #3 (Treviso): Floating raceways (TAMCO®); fish held in rectangular, poly extruded raceways suspended from poly extruded floatation collars; active, airlift water exchange through the raceways.
An aerial view of the new irrigation developments in the Rec Cliffs district of the Sunraysia Irrigation region, and production systems deployed at each of the three demonstration sites at Red Cliffs are depicted in Figs 2 and 3 respectively.
Fig. 3. Case Study #1 demonstration sites and aquaculture production systems at Red Cliffs, Sunraysia Irrigation region, NW Victoria; (A) Site #1, Thurla Farms P/L; (B) Floating cage system at Site #1; (C) Site #2, Taylor & Sons P/L; (D) Floating tank system at Site #2; (E) Site #3, Treviso Estate P/L; (F) Floating raceway system at Site #3.
Trial #1 focused on the year-round production of Murray cod, Maccullochella peelii peelii, a native Australian, warmwater finfish endemic to the MDB (Fig. 4) Farmed Murray cod is a high value, new and developing, commercial aquaculture product in Australia (Gavine & Gooley 2002; DPI 2003; Ingram and De Silva 2004), and is considered to be a ‘marquis’ product from open-water systems developed in this project. This trial featured a single, main cohort monitored over a continuous 28 month period at two of the three sites, as well as multiple other smaller cohorts at all sites at various times.
Trial #2 focused on the seasonal production of selected salmonid species, including Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar, brown trout, Salmo trutta, and rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss (Fig. 4), all coldwater finfish introduced to Australia. All three species are established commercial aquaculture species both in Victoria (freshwater only) and other states, including a major Atlantic salmon marine farming sector in Tasmania. Being coldwater species, the salmonid trial for this case study was undertaken during the cooler months only (April-November), and farmed salmonids were considered to be a ‘supplementary’ product from open-water systems developed in this project.
Fig. 4. Aquaculture species, Murray cod (Maccullochella peelii peelii) and rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), trialed in Case Study #1 at Red Cliffs, Sunraysia Irrigation Region, NW Victoria; (A) advanced stocker Murray cod (Trial #1); (B) market-size, ‘open-water’ farmed Murray cod at harvest (Trial #1); (C) processed and chilled ‘open-water’ farmed Murray cod being packed for delivery to domestic and export markets (Trial #1); (D) processed and chilled ‘open-water’ farmed rainbow trout, packed for delivery to domestic markets (Trial #2).
Key parameters measured and assessed for specific cohorts of fish (discrete batches of fish of similar size, age and source) in both trials to evaluate production, productivity and performance were fish growth and survival, harvest yield and water quality.
It should be noted that the trials were not replicated, and thus cannot be used for comparison of performance of the three aquaculture systems. However, the trials provide data for cost benefit analyses of performance within the specific site and aquaculture systems.
Support was provided by ORL project 4.1 ‘Innovation in ORL’ to modify system design in an unsuccessful attempt to increase localised water temperature in open-water production systems during cooler months using poly solar insulation.
Case Study #2 ‘Multi Use of Saline Groundwater’
This case study “Integrated Saline Agri-Aquaculture Systems application in the Shepparton Irrigation Region, Victoria”, was based at the single demonstration site designed, constructed and commissioned by the project, in partnership with farmer partners, at Kyabram, in north-central Victoria. The purpose of this case study was to develop, evaluate and demonstrate a farming systems approach to the integration of ‘saline’, finfish aquaculture and irrigated dairy within the Shepparton Irrigation Region. Case Study #2 consisted of two major trials (Trial #1 & 2) carried out collectively over a two year period from 2005 to 2007. The specific objectives, experimental design and methods for each trial are detailed in Gooley et al. (2007c,d).
The dairy farm at which the demonstration site was located is a traditional, family-run enterprise, consisting of 166 ha of mostly perennial pasture, milking 200 milking cows, with an annual water usage of approximately 670 ML (approximately 500 ML from surface irrigation and the balance from groundwater).
The demonstration site consisted of a semi-intensive, recirculation aquaculture system (RAS) designed for ‘nursery’ (juvenile) production of finfish in poly membrane raceways production systems located within a poly greenhouse and supplied by low salinity (2.23ppt) groundwater from an existing bore. This bore has a yield of approximately 0.5 ML/day and is typically used only for dairy wash down following milking. Dairy effluent is collected and stored in a re-use dam from which some conjunctive irrigation of pasture takes place periodically. In this case study, the aquaculture gains first use of the saline groundwater, after which it is directed to the re-use dam for final irrigation use. A schematic plan view of the Kyabram demonstration site, major infrastructure and the saline RAS at the site for Case Study #2 are depicted in Fig. 5.
Trial #1 focused on initial preliminary testing of system design for nursery production with selected finfish species, including Murray cod, and subsequently with a modified design, testing of ‘seasonal’ nursery production of Murray cod only. Trial #2 focused exclusively on the seasonal nursery production of Murray cod. The intention was to establish the capability for such a system to be retrospectively integrated into a traditional dairy farm for the purposes of year-round and/or seasonal nursery production of Murray cod ‘advanced stockers’ (advanced juveniles at a mean weight of 100-200g) to be supplied to open-water Murray cod growers in north-western Victoria for final growout to table fish.
Key parameters measured and assessed for specific cohorts of fish and other fish production activities were developed, implemented, monitored and documented as for Case Study #1.
Fig. 5. Saline groundwater use demonstration site, Kyabram, Shepparton Irrigation Region, north-central Victoria; (A) schematic plan view of site showing key aquaculture infrastructure and saline water flow; (B) Saline storage pond and poly tunnel housing aquaculture system; (C) saline groundwater recirculation aquaculture system inside poly tunnel.
Case Study #3 ‘Multi Use of Urban Wastewater’
This case study “Biological Systems to Improve Quality and Productivity of Recycled Urban Wastewater” was undertaken as a desktop study by a multi-disciplinary DPI project team during 2005/06. The purpose of this case study was to:
- Scope the potential Victoria-wide application of integrated aquaculture and horticulture reuse of urban wastewater;
- Fill key information gaps and collate new and existing data;
- Develop some useful planning tools and resources, and
- Establish a preliminary business case for further strategic investment in this area by government and industry.
The case study documented:
- A conceptual framework for integrated aquaculture and horticulture use of urban wastewater in Victoria as a biological means for improving the quality and value of this otherwise underutilised resource;
- A strategic framework for the government policy context for existing/potential wastewater uses in Victoria;
- A wastewater resource inventory for Victoria that characterises available resources and infrastructure;
- A summary of existing or potential wastewater applications in Victoria;
- Existing data, literature and quality standards relevant to use of wastewater for primary production (aquaculture and horticulture) in Victoria;
- A summary analysis of the bio-chemical hazards, regulatory framework and proposed monitoring framework for aquaculture use of urban wastewater;
- A simulative wastewater aquaculture system model to assess bio-economic potential in Victoria;
- A risk assessment checklist and management overview of aquaculture and horticulture use of urban wastewater in Victoria, and
- Recommendations for prioritised R&D investment and industry development in the aquaculture and horticulture use of urban wastewater in Victoria.
The details of the actual methods undertaken in this case study are provided in Gooley et al (2006).
Case Study #4 ‘Multi Water-Use Industry Opportunities’
This case study “Bio-economic and resource analysis, market and industry development of multi water-use, systems approach to irrigated farming in northern Victoria” consisted of various desk-top analyses designed to further interpret and add value to various findings of Case Study #1 and 2. In particular, this included analyses of bioeconomics, resource use, benchmarking, value chain and industry development relevant to aquaculture-based, multi water-use systems in irrigated horticulture and dairy in Victoria. The details of the actual methods undertaken in this case study are provided in Gooley et al (2007e).
The major component of this case study was the development of a new bio-economic model, customised to the specific requirements for analysing cost-benefit of virtual and/or actual, integrated Murray cod farming situations envisaged for:
- open-water growout of table fish using different production systems in private irrigation storage dams in north-western Victoria, for sale into domestic and export seafood markets, and
- RAS-based nursery production of advanced stockers using saline groundwater in north-central Victoria, for sale as seedstock to open-water growers in northwestern Victoria.
The bio-economic model is based on a modified template described by Gooley et al (2006) and consists of two, linked sub-models:
- a biological sub-model based on projected growth and survival of different sized fish to determine biomass yield over time, and
- an economic component based on estimated capital and operating costs for selected systems and operating/market regimes to determine financial viability.
The biological component is temperature and size sensitive for fish growth and survival respectively. Growth curves (rate of weight increase over time) are generated using actual temperature dependent growth data collected from Case Study #1 and 2, supplemented, where site specific data is lacking, with previously published temperature dependent growth data (Ingram 2004). The biological component of the model has provision for varying initial fish numbers, size, feed rates and temperature regime (spatially explicit for different latitudes in Victoria, including Mildura and Kyabram), as well as timing of production runs in terms of seasonal temperature influence on growth. The primary outputs of the biological component of the model are annual production (of saleable product) and maximum standing crop (biomass held in water at any one time).
The economic component is dependent on defined capital and operating cost inputs, as well as estimated fish production inputs (generated by the biological component of the model). The cost-benefit analysis for various scenarios is undertaken by:
- entering linked inputs to the respective biological and economic components of the model, based on real and/or virtual farming system scenarios (including location of the farm, production system type/cost/scale, seedstock supply (numbers, size and cost), seasonality/length of production run and preferred market size for harvest;
- linking the outputs of both biological and economic components of the model as inputs to a ten year, discounted cash flow, cost-benefit analysis which generates standardised economic indicators including production costs/kg, profit margin, net present value, internal rate of return and payback period.
For this case study, cost-benefit analysis was completed only for Case Study #1 integrated aquaculture scenarios; specifically as tested at Site #1 (cage culture) and Site #3 (raceway culture). Case Study #1 was undertaken at both Site #1 and #3 with a single, pilot, commercial-scale, Murray cod cohort taken from initial stocker size through to complete plate size harvest for domestic and export sale. This cohort was also supplemented by smaller, shorter-term cohorts designed to enhance the validity of the biological component of the model in particular. It was therefore considered that this case study generated sufficient commercially relevant data to make realistic assumptions about the bio-economic specifications of the production systems tested at Site # 1 and #3.
A cost-benefit analysis was not undertaken for the production system demonstrated at Site #2 (tank culture) in Case Study #1 or for Case Study #2, as insufficient time-series production data was available for any one cohort to simulate realistic commercial scenarios, due to various technical difficulties which affected fish survival at different times during the respective trials.
Resource-use analysis and benchmarking
The original objective of this task was to undertake an analysis of available water resources within the irrigated horticulture and dairy sectors of the Sunraysia and Shepparton Irrigation Regions respectively, to:
- Characterise the quantity and type of water and associated infrastructure within each region, and to
- Numerically benchmark farm water use, with and without integrated aquaculture, using new, multi-faceted, ‘triple-bottom-line’, surrogate metrics of ‘water use sustainability’.
The intention was to utilise existing data accessed from databases within state (DPI, DSE) and federal government (ABS), as well as from relevant water authorities and CMAs. Access to these databases was facilitated primarily through collaborative input from and alignment with the DPI ‘Irrigation Water Use Efficiency Benchmarking’ project (DPI 2006).
In practice, water resource characterisation was achieved by different means and to different levels within each region. Private irrigation storage dams were targeted as the ‘water resource of interest’ within north-western Victoria, being the primary means by which farmers could undertake large-scale, open-water farming of finfish species such as Murray cod and various salmonids. These dams are considered to be a unique feature of the agricultural landscape in this region. They provide a distinct competitive advantage to horticulture farmers for the potential integration of open-water, aquaculture production, given that the land, infrastructure and water are effectively already paid for as part of the existing commercial horticulture enterprise.
Data for all known dams (existing and ‘under construction’) were sourced from existing databases, and detailed specifications relevant to proposed aquaculture use was canvassed from landholders by direct interview for a discrete and representative sub-set. Location and specifications of saline groundwater bores and irrigation water use were detailed primarily for the Central-Goulburn district of the Shepparton Irrigation Region, being the location of the project demonstration site at Kyabram.
Attempts to numerically benchmark the use of the respective water resources in the two regions as part of this case study were unsuccessful, as suitable datasets were not available when required. The major limiting factor was the lack of a contemporary and representative gross margin analysis for Victorian irrigated farming sectors that is spatially relevant to the regions of interest, specifically to the outputs of the bioeconomic analysis undertaken for Case Study #1. No alternative approach was available within the available time and resources of this project, accordingly the benchmarking task was unable to be completed as originally planned and relevant project resources were re-directed to other priority tasks within this case study.
Product and market development of Murray cod produced in “open water” systems
The development of open-water, farmed Murray cod as a high-value, premium quality product for both domestic and export market consumption was achieved by providing samples of Murray cod to local chefs and restaurants, and as part of organised agrifood promotional events for domestic and export markets.
Murray cod from the Red Cliffs demonstration sites was provided to several organised industry and media events in Mildura and food industry exhibitions at international destinations including Singapore, Thailand and Japan. Mildura events included cooperation with Sunraysia TAFE and cross-promotion at a number of events with a local gourmet food identity, Stefano de Pieri from the Grand Hotel, Mildura. Reports and evaluation of these events provided direction for future market development and also for establishing initial export buyers of Murray cod from Case Study #1 demonstration sites.
Market development activities were undertaken by project staff, with support from ORL 4 sub-project ‘Innovation in ORL’ in relation to a cooperative event with Sunraysia TAFE. All international product and market development activities were undertaken on a collaborative basis with other DPI projects, specifically the Naturally Victorian Initiative (NVI) ‘Cool Chain Project’, and/or DPI (CAS) Agribusiness personnel. On behalf of the project, DPI Agribusiness personnel also negotiated with international buyers and facilitated and advised on purchasing, pricing, packaging, quality assurance, logistics and feedback for export sales for the project. These activities were all based on providing access to and/or modifying existing networks and processes, and also organisation of special events. This information was also used to revise domestic product and market development activities within the project.
Value chains and industry development
This task was undertaken by the project team initially with support from ORL 4.1 ‘Innovation in ORL’, and subsequently in collaboration with the CAS Agribusiness project entitled ‘Tools for Sustainable Seafood Development’(TSSD). The approach was to construct a pilot-scale value chain based on:
- the latent market demand for premium, open-water, farmed Murray cod for the high-end, food services sector in domestic and export Asian markets, and
- the new and developing open-water production capability for plate-size, farmed Murray cod on horticulture farms in the Sunraysia Irrigation Region (Case Study #1), and the nursery production capability for advanced stocker Murray cod in saline groundwater production systems on dairy farms in the Shepparton Irrigation Region.
This ‘constructed’ value chain was ‘managed’ by the project team and DPI associate investigators and personnel so that critical value chain processes of shared market intelligence, product value and pricing, logistics, production scheduling, market demand, market access, technical information and strategic planning could be facilitated in a transparent and systematic way.
An important strategy employed as part of this task was to actively coordinate the simultaneous promotion of the product and market development with the production capability at the farm level. This was essential to avoid the pitfalls of over-producing in the absence of market demand, or under-supplying in the absence of production capacity. Balancing these two key parameters and managing expectations, with active communication and sharing of information between farmers and buyers (particularly export), was a crucial task to enabling steady and progressive development and expansion of the value chain, from inception to early stages of commercialisation.
The project also facilitated, on a collaborative basis with the DPI TSSD project and Thurla Farms P/L (Case Study #1 farmer partner), a feasibility analysis of a Murray cod aquaculture business network program in north-western Victoria. This analysis was undertaken as an external consultancy by Street Ryan & Associates P/L, and funded by the Department of Industry, Innovation and Regional Development (DIIRD). The methods employed within this analysis are detailed in Street Ryan (2007). The findings of this analysis are intended to provide the framework for further strategic planning and industry development of the emerging new value chain for open-water farmed Murray cod in Victoria.
2. Results and Discussion
Case Study #1 ‘Multi Use of Irrigation Storage Dams’
A detailed summary of results and discussion for Case Study #1, Trial #1 and #2 at the ORL Red Cliffs demonstration sites is provided in Gooley et al (2007a,b).
Trial #1 ‘Murray cod’
These results relate to the technical feasibility of different open-water finfish production systems, located in private irrigation storage dams at irrigated horticulture farm demonstration sites near Red Cliffs, in the Sunraysia Irrigation Region.
Year-round, commercial scale, open-water production of Murray cod is technically feasible, with good prospects for commercial profitability, for two of the three production systems evaluated, viz. floating cages and raceways. Growth and survival at both locations was initially variable, with relatively high mortalities in early stages of production runs for all cohorts, particularly when the size of stockers (initial seedstock) was less than 100g and when initial stocking took place in colder months of the year
(e.g. between June and August inclusive). Commercial, semi-intensive stocking densities (>20-30kg/m3 in cages and >50-75kg/m3 in raceways) were maintained at these sites throughout most of the trials.
Variable growth required initial size grading of fish after only one month, to reduce risks of cannibalism within any one production unit. Fish first reached initial market size (small, plate sized fish @ 600g wet weight), after approximately five months, at which limited harvesting was undertaken for market appraisal. The frequency of subsequent gradings was then reduced, and size selective harvesting moderated the effects of growth variability.
Fish >1kg (wet weight) were readily harvested from the main cohort of fish within 12 months of initial stocking and >2kg within 24 months. Measured growth rates suggested a reduced rate of growth when the fish reached approximately 1.5kg, however this was considered to be an artefact of the size selective harvesting of larger fish for new markets.
Fish acclimated to open-water conditions and fed actively from auto and hand-feeding at all three sites soon after initial stocking. Food conversion was difficult to estimate due to the inability to accurately monitor feeding activity within the open-water systems. However monthly sampling and daily monitoring of fish survival provided a means by which feed rates could be adjusted to compensate for increased biomass and demand. Likewise, monthly growth monitoring also provided the means by which feed rates were reduced at cooler temperatures during winter.
The floating cage and raceways systems performed reliably with few system failures affecting fish growth or survival. Maintenance demands varied for the two systems, with both requiring periodic cleaning of biofouling and solid feed waste. Grading and fish health treatments were typically labour intensive activities at both sites, with the latter being more convenient due to the ability to treat fish ‘in situ’ more readily than the cages. The cages on the other hand were less dependent on supplementary aeration and therefore less at risk of mechanical failure.
Major mortality events at all sites were typically associated with system malfunction (specifically at the tank and raceway sites), handling (e.g. transport, grading, sampling) and temperature stress in the winter months. Significant mortalities were experienced as a result of ‘winter stress syndrome’ in some smaller cohorts of advanced stocker Murray cod which were stocked on one occasion at all sites during winter. Other fish health problems leading to increased mortalities and/or depressed growth rates were experienced periodically, but mostly in smaller fish (<500g). These problems typically related to infestation of fish by cosmopolitan, ectoparasitic protozoa, endemic to inland waters in south-eastern Australia. In most cases, these disease outbreaks were managed by routine, ‘in situ’ application of approved chemo-therapeutants according to SOPs, including salt (NaCl), formalin (standard grade) and hydrogen peroxide (latter on an experimental basis only).
The open-water production of selected salmonid species in the cooler months of the year proved to be technically feasible, with relatively rapid growth of all three tested species being observed in dams with suitable turbidity, compared with growth at other sites in Victoria. The growth premium observed is primarily due to the warmer ambient water temperature conditions experienced in the Sunraysia Irrigation Region during the winter period. Optimal growing conditions for salmonids (15-200C) were typically experienced for at least six months, from April through to October. In practice, this is sufficient time to produce two crops of fish i.e. 300-400g fish from an initial 100-150g, per season.
Water quality at the three demonstration sites was generally suitable for open-water production of Murray cod, and for salmonids at two sites, at the sizes and stocking densities tested in the different production systems. Water quality typically reflected the nature of the substrate at the three sites, with Site #1 (Thurla Farms -clay lined but without bentonite), being typically quite turbid compared to the other two sites (both clay lined but with bentonite added to bind the clay). In all cases, ambient dissolved oxygen levels were mostly adequate for all species, although a single oxygen inversion event did result in significant mortalities of Murray cod at one site in the absence of supplementary aeration. Turbidity was related to irrigation flows, regularly increasing following pumping events at two sites, but with no obvious impact on fish production. Water depth in the dams was adequate throughout the trials, with a minimum ‘freeboard’ under the systems never less than 1.5m and typically > 2-3m.
Ambient water temperature proved adequate for year-round production of Murray cod, although little or no feeding, and therefore growth, occurred during the winter months from June to August inclusive at temperatures <150C. Fish maintained condition however, suitable for harvesting and commercial sale, on a reduced winter feeding regime. Peak feeding and production occurred during the summer months at temperatures > 250C. Apart from size and temperature dependent stress mortalities in smaller size, water temperature appeared to have little impact on survival of larger fish > 500g at any time of the year. Fish were harvested throughout the year.
Salmonid production was optimal from about late April to late September at temperatures <200C. In some years however, rainbow trout were reared under ambient conditions up to early November at temperatures between 20-250C, albeit at reduced feeding rates, stocking densities and growth to moderate thermal stress.
Case Study #2 ‘Multi Use of Saline Groundwater’
A detailed summary of results and discussion for Case Study #2, Trial #1 and #2 at the ORL Kyabram demonstration site is provided in Gooley et al (2007c,d). Major findings of this case study are based around the performance of the production system, the target species/product (Murray cod advanced stockers) and the suitability of the saline groundwater for aquaculture use.
The initial production system design was adequate for preliminary testing of a range of potential aquaculture species, both native fish and introduced ornamental goldfish and salmonids. Preliminary trials suggested that nursery production of Murray cod advanced stockers (based on fish growth and survival) was technically feasible, for the purpose of supplying the expected market demand for such fish from the open-water production of Murray cod being developed in Case Study #1 at the Red Cliffs demonstration sites. The initial production system design was compromised due to the structural insecurity of the ‘in-ground’ raceways (where the fish were held). The system was subsequently modified to make the raceways ‘partly in-ground, mostly above-ground) for all further trials.
Further trials investigated both winter and spring/summer/autumn production performance, with the latter providing the most optimal conditions for growth and survival of Murray cod advanced stockers. Major problems experienced in winter months related to low ambient water temperatures, and included significant ‘winter stress syndrome’ mortalities for some cohorts, particularly those which were introduced to the system during winter, rather than immediately prior (with time to acclimate slowly). Increased supplementary heating and insulation of the raceways partly offset these problems.
Major problems during peak production periods in spring/summer/autumn related to outbreaks of ectoparasitic protozoan parasites and also Lernaea (an ectoparasitic crustacean parasite), causing significant mortalities and/or loss of fish condition and production. These problems were addressed by routine fish health management practices such as treatment with approved chemo-therapeutants such as salt and formalin, however experimental trials were also carried out using hydrogen peroxide with some success.
Other problems were experienced at all times in relation to maintaining water quality, removal of accumulated biosolids and maintaining adequate dissolved oxygen levels in the system. These factors are typically crucial to the performance of most recirculation aquaculture systems. The major means to manage water quality problems included manual removal of biosolids and exchange of water in the raceways with fresh bore water by pumping.
Under optimal conditions, growth and survival of Murray cod was sufficient to produce high quality advanced stockers to specification for open-water growers, in sufficient time for multiple crops to be produced in any one year. The most rapid growth and majority of production was during spring to autumn, at temperatures >200C, compared with winter when temperatures need to be maintained at >150C to maintain fish health and condition (if not growth).
Case Study #3 ‘Multi Use of Urban Wastewater’
Key drivers for development of integrated aquaculture use of recycled wastewater in Victoria exist a regional, state and national level, and a compelling case for government and private sector investment exists on the basis of environmental, economic and social imperatives.
The case for investment is qualified on the basis that the social case is based on existing government policy, whereas the economic and environmental case is based partly on (limited) practical experience in Victoria and partly on overseas experience and theoretical bio-technical relationships from the literature; the latter underpinning assumptions made in the cost-benefit analysis in this case study.
The optimal scenario for integrated aquaculture use of recycled wastewater in Victoria is likely to link such development with existing urban wastewater treatment plants, either on-site or by reticulated pipelines to more remote locations. Further ‘downstream’ linkages to irrigate horticulture, in close geographic proximity for final use of this water via existing or proposed pipelines, is also likely. The economic case is highly sensitive to the pricing of recycled wastewater and the availability of alternative sources for primary industries, including aquaculture.
The aquaculture use of treated urban wastewater is expected to be based on Class C standard water as an input, with up to Class A standard water as an output for horticulture use. Horticulture use of treated urban wastewater is already under commercial development in Victoria and the associated risks have already been identified and managed. Aquaculture use of treated urban wastewater is not presently practiced in Victoria, other than on a research and development basis, has limited scientific and technical basis and no demonstration or extension capacity.
Major scientific and technical information gaps exist in relation to aquaculture in wastewater and these will need to be addressed as a matter of priority to progress this concept towards commercialisation and to provide the background data for requisite risk management and planning guidelines.
Case Study #4 ‘Multi Water-Use Industry Opportunities’
Cost-benefit analysis and market development
The bio-economic model was successfully developed for Murray cod and populated with relevant growth data from cohorts and trials undertaken as part of Case Study #1 and 2 at the respective demonstration sites. Subsequent cost-benefit analysis indicates that for selected ‘50 tonne’ floating cage production system scenarios producing 1kg market fish from 200g stockers:
- A total capital investment of $297,500 is required;
- Production costs vary between $8.75-9.19/kg;
- Internal rate of return varies between 8-51% (mean 31%), subject to market price and cost of advanced stockers, and payback period ranges between 2-10 yrs (mean 4 yrs).
By comparison, for comparable ‘50 tonne’ floating raceway production system scenarios:
- A total capital investment of $295,500-653,000 is required (depending on whether commercial system or DIY);
- Production costs vary between $9.16-9.77/kg;
- Internal rate of return varies between 11-31, and payback period ranges between 4-8 yrs.
These estimates assume operating costs are being offset by investment in existing irrigated horticulture, including the full cost of land and water used for horticulture and for aquaculture in a multi water-use system.
Although return on investment is greatest for the cage system under these scenarios, other benefits from the raceways system include the ability to utilise a smaller surface area of infrastructure at higher stocking densities, and also to routinely enhance dissolved oxygen levels with constant aeration and to monitor and possibly manage solid waste disposal at the terminal end of the raceways.
The validity of these estimates was substantiated in the project by the actual production and sale of over 7 tonnes of open-water, farmed Murray cod, worth more than $100,000 as sold in both domestic (over 3 tonnes at >$40,000) and export (over 4 tonnes at > $60,000) markets. These were entirely new markets developed by the project on the basis of producing and selling open-water products exclusively from the Sunraysia Irrigation Region. Actual sales were consistent across both markets over a consecutive 22 month period during the third and fourth year of the project.
Insufficient data was available from the other production systems at Red Cliffs or at Kyabram to complete cost-benefit analysis using the bio-economic model at this stage, without making unsubstantiated assumptions regarding production yield and associated costs.
Water use analysis and benchmarking
The cost, availability and financial return on irrigation water are key input measures required for estimating relevant, economically-based, water-use efficiency indicators for benchmarking different agricultural production scenarios with and without aquaculture. The intended use of proposed gross margin-based water-use efficiency indicators (DPI 2006) was not possible in this project due to the lack of available and reliable, industry agreed, gross margin estimates for both dairy enterprises in the Shepparton Irrigation Region and horticulture in the Sunraysia Irrigation Region.
The availability and use of suitable private irrigation water storages in the Sunraysia Irrigation Region was collated and summarised for a representative sample of the estimated total number of storages present (or under construction). This information was not previously available. It is estimated that at least 50 storage dams exist that are suitable for aquaculture, for which a subsample of twenty was specified in detail. On this basis it is estimated that water storage capacity is > 10,650 ML, with a surface area of > 250 Ha. Based on estimated aquaculture carrying capacity and projected yield from existing trials (min. 50/max. 250 tonnes per annum), and with sufficient irrigation throughput (minimum of 500% water exchange per 1 Ha/100 ML per annum), the potential aquaculture production would be >5000 tonnes per annum and worth > $50-60 million with a minimum 25% utilisation of the available water. These estimates assume application of Best Practice production standards and maintenance of export market prices at current levels over a 5-10 year period of development. For these estimates to be also based on an IRR within the range projected by the cost-benefit analysis, other assumptions need to apply, including the continuing ability to ‘sink’ water and land costs in existing irrigated horticulture enterprises.
Value chain and industry development
The technical results and associated reactions of next users for Case Study #1 and #2, and the market development work in this Case Study, have led to the emergence of a new value chain based around the market demand and production capability for open-water farmed Murray cod in north-western Victoria. This value chain has been supported by this project and other DPI/ORL projects at various stages, in terms of development of new capability, markets, logistics and information flow. A schematic description of the emerging value chain and summary explanation for what has been achieved collectively by all projects is provided in Fig.6.
The development of this emerging value chain has also been facilitated by this project through input to an independent, Murray cod industry network feasibility analysis undertaken by agribusiness consultants Street Ryan P/L. A draft report on this study is referenced in Section 6 of this report (Street Ryan 2007). In summary this report states:
- Open-water farming of Murray cod in large storages, as a complementary activity to irrigated horticulture and as a ‘shared’ investment in land and water, appears to have the potential to be successful and cost-effective;
- There is a need to develop the value chain approach around ‘open-water’ farming in north-western Victoria, underpinned by export market development and the development of a formalised and coordinated industry network responsible for nursery production of stockers, marketing and sales, capacity building and development of centralised hatchery production.
The report describes possible organisational structures and business principles for this network, as well as prioritised actions for building post-harvest and processing capacity and commercialisation of the DPI selective breeding program for securing seedstock supply to nurseries.
2.2 Unexpected Outputs
Unexpected outputs related to the rate of progress of commercialisation and market acceptance of open-water farming of Murray cod in the Sunraysia Irrigation Region of Victoria. These outputs were factored in to the project as budget and milestone variations with additional deliverables during the latter two years of the project. Further unexpected outputs relate to collaborative investigations by La Trobe University of fish feeding behaviour, physiology and movement patterns in response to environmental cues. This will provide information designed to optimise feeding efficiency and to enhance productivity of open-water systems, which is included in 2007/08 work plans.
2.3 Significance of Outputs
This project is the first time in Australia that integrated agri-aquaculture trials of open-water and saline groundwater production of Murray cod at different stages of the value chain have been undertaken in such a coordinated, detailed manner and at such commercial scale over a full production cycle from ‘stocker to plate’. It is also the first time that the aquaculture use of urban wastewater has been addressed in such a comprehensive manner on the basis of the available state-wide resource and in consideration of all regulatory, economic, environmental and bio-hazard parameters.
Fig. 6. A schematic summary of the emerging value chain for integrated ‘open water’ aquaculture of Murray cod and other finfish products as part of a multi water-use approach to irrigated horticulture and dairy farming in Victoria; role of linked DPI projects and capabilities depicted where appropriate.
3. Achievements and Outcomes
3.1 Dissemination and Extension
The dissemination and extension of project findings to next-users has been achieved by:
- Farm Walks:
- Two Farm Walks were completed at the Red Cliffs demonstration sites in December of 2005 and 2006 respectively. These events were undertaken in collaboration with farmer partners and directed at the north-west Victorian industry network established as part of the case study undertaken at Red Cliffs;
- Two Farm Walks were completed at the Kyabram demonstration site in June 2006 and April 2007 respectively. These events were undertaken in collaboration with farmer partners and the Wyuna Local Area Planning Group and targeted at local farmers and state and local government agencies.
- Conference presentations, workshops and meetings at a national, state and local level with key stakeholders and, where appropriate, contemporary scientific community (see details under Section 6.2).
- Regular, written communication with farmer partners at Red Cliffs and Kyabram which provided summary reports detailing progress of case studies and trials;
- Publication and distribution to key stakeholders of Technical Notes and Case Study #3 Final Report.
- Industry events in domestic markets at Mildura and, in collaboration with DPI Agribusiness Regional Development group, in Asian export destinations (see details in Section 6.2).
- Direct engagement via meetings and consultation with industry investors at a regional scale, in collaboration with farmer partners and local government economic development officers in Mildura and Swan Hill, and at a more corporate level in relation to potential investors through existing DPI (AVS P/L) and DIIRD (RDV) state government networks.
3.2 Next User Reactions
The response from next users to communication of project findings has been documented in relation to ‘post-event’ reactions from:
- Farm Walk participants;
- Market appraisal of open-water Murray cod products:
- Domestic marketing/promotional events and
- International marketing/promotional events;
- Workshop and seminar participants at various events.
Reactions vary according to the audience, the circumstances and the nature of the project findings being evaluated however, in summary:
- Farm walk participants indicated a high degree of interest in potential diversification, investment opportunities, albeit with acknowledgment of obvious risks in some areas;
- Market appraisal from buyers and chefs in particular acknowledged the high quality and market potential for open-water Murray cod for both domestic and export purposes, particularly in the high-end food services sector;
- Workshop and seminar participants acknowledged the technical merit of the production systems being developed and tested, but also confirmed the need for reliable cost-benefit analysis to justify commercialisation.
- Conceptual analysis of aquaculture use of wastewater is acknowledged as strategically important work of relevance to future water use practices in Victoria, although still commercially and technically high risk;
- Overall reactions include the need for more information to address key risks and to facilitate commercialisation and strategic industry development in a number of areas.
3.3 Changes in Knowledge, Attitudes, Skills and Aspirations
All farmer partners have actively participated in public and departmental events designed to communicate project findings to next users, both on-farm at demonstration sites, and also at regional and Melbourne DPI centres.
Farmer partners have regularly engaged project staff during routine daily/weekly site visits and have contacted project staff at other times for technical and general advice relevant to project case studies. They have shown interest and enthusiasm for the project, with realistic appraisal of the risks involved in new enterprises.
One farmer partner at Red Cliffs has organised a formal ‘entry level’ aquaculture skills training course for staff and other industry personnel, undertaken by a nationally accredited TAFE training organisation, as part of the commercialisation of project findings and establishment of a new business enterprise focussed on open-water production of Murray cod. This same business enterprise is now seeking advice relevant to risk assessments for fish translocation protocols required for completion of Victorian Aquaculture licensing conditions.
3.4 Practice Change
Of the three farmer partners at Red Cliffs (Case Study #1), two are in the process of undertaking a new aquaculture related business as an adjunct to existing irrigated horticulture enterprise. This process involves the farmer partners securing a Victorian Aquaculture License from DPI, investment in new infrastructure, including purchase of project infrastructure and residual fish stocks from DPI, and investment of new capital in human resources, infrastructure and operating costs for consumables such as seedstock and feeds. These activities are now scheduled in to existing farm operational activities. These farmer partners are also actively engaging industry network stakeholders to facilitate new investment and diversification opportunities.
One farmer partner at Red Cliffs has also established a new, stand-alone enterprise to focus primarily on open-water farming of Murray cod, as part of a comprehensive business package for commercial production on-site and also for networking on a contractual basis with other producers. This enterprise has also:
- developed new, patented production system technologies;
- taken responsibility for maintaining and supplying domestic and export markets established by the project;
- coinvested with the state government to complete an independent analysis of the feasibility of an open-water Murray cod industry network being established in north-western Victoria (which in turn has stimulated the interest of local government in Mildura and Swan Hill for the purposes of developing a strategic industry development plan for the region), and
- has secured a major contractual supply of treated, recycled, urban wastewater for future, commercial irrigated horticulture and aquaculture production.
Farmer partners at the Kyabram demonstration site are presently applying for a Victorian Aquaculture License, as well as considering the option of acquiring DPI infrastructure to commercialise operations on a pilot basis initially as part of ongoing, joint DPI/industry funded R&D activities.
A major new project initiative has been developed at this site for the purposes of expanding the multi water-use concept using aquaculture in saline groundwater, to also include treatment and aquaculture reuse of saline dairy effluent, as an integrated farming system designed to complement existing irrigated dairy enterprise. This new project is being developed by a private industry consortium (VISTech), in partnership with DPI and farmer partners.
3.5 Achievements and Outcomes
Major achievements have been made primarily in north-western Victoria, leading to the commercialisation of open water production of Murray cod, including new investment being made by two farmer partners. These developments are confirmed by way of the progress towards securing Victorian Aquaculture licenses, and thereby achieving formal legal status as bona fide commercial aquaculturists. This impact is also measured by the formal agreement with DPI to purchase all three production systems established at the Red Cliffs demonstration sites, for the intention of carrying out commercial aquaculture, including open-water farming of Murray cod and, to a lesser extent, salmonids (on a seasonal basis). Also, both farmer partners have agreed in principle to enter into new Land-Use Agreements for future collaborative R&D purposes.
Both farmer partners have agreed to purchase all residual Murray cod and salmonid stock for the purpose of scaling up commercial production in the short term. One new ‘spin-off’ business enterprise has been established and has formally engaged state and local government for undertaking further R&D and industry development. This enterprise has developed new, patented technologies, assumed responsibility for maintaining existing domestic and export markets and purchased new seedstock for undertaking commercial open-water production.
New export markets for open-water farmed Murray cod have been developed in the high-end, food services sector in Bangkok, Hong Kong and Singapore, with emerging opportunities in the Japanese market, subject to further clarification of quality controls and standards. New local marketing opportunities also exist with a small number of gourmet restaurants in the Sunraysia region. Prospects of significant expansion exist in both domestic and export markets based on consumer feedback. Local markets have been established for seasonal production of Atlantic salmon and brown and rainbow trout, particularly for local hotels and clubs, as a conveniently priced, locally branded, fresh seafood product.
The regional scale opportunity for future outcomes is linked directly to the access to and use of large-scale, private irrigation storage dams as part of the new irrigation developments of north-western Victoria. Over 50 dams (with > 10,000m2 surface area, > 50-100 ML capacity and > 100% annual irrigation flow) have been built or are under construction in north-western Victoria. If 25% of these are used for open-water farming over the next 5-10 years, there is potential to generate 3000-5000 tonnes per annum of Murray cod with a ‘farm-gate’ export market value estimated at $35-50 million.
This project has also provided the drivers for industry investment in the production of selectively-bred, elite strain, Murray cod seedstock being developed as part of ORL subproject 2.3. Negotiations for commercial investment in the IP from this project is now underway with farmer partners and associated new investors at both the Red Cliffs and Kyabram demonstration sites.
Science outcomes from this project include the proposed publication of a suite of technical and scientific reports and papers from the documented case study reports, as well as new scientific collaborations with Deakin University in relation to nutritional profile of Murray cod, and La Trobe University in relation to Murray cod bioenergetics and physiology. Two project team members are also completing a PhD and an Honours projects respectively, based on the findings of this project.
The project has developed, tested and utilised a relatively unique, bio-economic model based largely on the actual data generated in the project case studies at Red Cliffs and Kyabram. This model is capable of enabling commercially realistic cost-benefit analysis for production systems suitable for open-water production of Murray cod in Victoria, including yield predictive estimates designed to optimise capital investment in infrastructure, operating costs and harvest strategies. With further development, this model will enable realistic cost-benefit analysis of production systems under development for aquaculture production of advanced stocker Murray cod in saline groundwater.
The project has resulted in the creation of a new industry network based in northwestern Victoria, with over 100 participants, presently active or with stated intentions of investment and/or participation in the short to medium term. Local government in both Mildura and Swan Hill are now actively engaged to facilitate aspects of strategic industry development into the future. DPI Agribusiness colleagues are actively following up market development opportunities in Asian markets, and also facilitating development of the value chain in relation to post-harvest activities, quality assurance and certification standards.
The project findings have been widely communicated to a range of scientific, industry and government audiences by various methods of delivery at both regional, state and national levels.
Irrigation farmer stakeholders in the Shepparton and Sunraysia Irrigation Regions are now aware of new, aquaculture-based, multi water-use practices designed to add value and sustainability to water in agricultural landscapes.
The direct engagement with industry at the four project demonstration sites (three at Red Cliffs and one at Kyabram) worked very well in terms of facilitating communication with target next-users and ‘route to market’ for project findings. In the case of the Red Cliffs demonstration sites, this has resulted in commercialisation of project findings by two of the project partners and by several members of the project’s industry network in north-western Victoria. It is felt that the benefits of seeing first-hand, commercial-scale pilots being retrofitted and implemented on existing irrigation farms has clearly motivated farmers to consider diversification possibilities within their own respective farming enterprises.
Conversely, undertaking such activities at this scale imposed a significant cost on the project in terms of capital (production infrastructure) and operating (staff and travel) costs. Contingency for risks associated with system failure was not adequately budgeted for, and insufficient reserves were available to maintain capability for delivery of some trials. Where a project management decision was made to incur additional, non-budgeted costs to address technical problems at Red Cliffs and Kyabram in 2005/06, a budget deficit was incurred by the project. This decision was made on the basis of delivering on milestone commitments, and to maintain the greater than expected momentum that had been created by the project.
Route-to-market for project findings was implemented in various ways for each of the case studies, with greatest impact in Case Study #1 at Red Cliffs. However, despite the lack of commercialisation at the Kyabram demonstration site to date, recent engagement of new ‘third party’ investors through the Victoria Israel Science and Technology (VISTech) Fund has resulted in an entirely new approach to commercialisation of the project IP generated in this case study. It is expected that this new approach involving DPI, farmer partners and proposed new industry investment through VISTech, should it be implemented, will result in greater short-medium term impact.
Learnings from the case study on aquaculture reuse of urban wastewater highlight the need for effective high-level engagement of policy makers at an early stage of project development. The risk is that commercialisation of strategic, high risk R&D of this nature will otherwise be ignored by investors lacking confidence without ongoing policy support by government and regional water authorities.
4. Conclusions and Recommendations
An integrated, aquaculture-based, farming systems approach to the multiple use of agricultural water makes sense. It is an elegantly simple concept which is readily understood and has been accepted and/or acknowledged by farmer partners and a range of other next-users in this project. The concepts investigated in the various case studies are technically feasible, fundamentally sustainable and in certain cases, profitable. Sustainability of this concept is due to the fact that aquaculture is effectively a non-consumptive user of water, and further terminal use for irrigation is entirely complementary. A range of new, high value seafood products can be produced, including open-water Murray cod and other finfish such as trout and salmon, and the water still remains (for irrigation).
A number of risks are still apparent, depending on the production systems used and species/products being targeted, and further investment will need to be made to facilitate prioritised R,D & E, practice change and market and value chain development. However, it is likely that more farm and regional-scale benefits are yet to be realised, once the farming system approach can be further enhanced and ultimately commercialised. Accordingly, the project findings provide significant opportunities for the irrigation sector in northern Victoria, particularly in the face of emerging challenges from climate change and market globalisation. Multiple water-use however is not a ‘silver bullet’ solution to industry problems and DPI and industry will need to continue to work in partnership in order to realise the medium to long term outcomes.
Recommendations for future development:
- Open water farming of Murray cod in private irrigation storage dams in northwestern Victoria is now at a ‘commercial-ready’ stage, and is potentially a new $50m industry for Victoria. Further planning and development of this sector needs to be undertaken on a strategic basis with input at a local government and industry level in north-western Victoria. Key risks and opportunities include Best Practice guidelines, integration and coordination of the value chain, elite strains of finfish for aquaculture, water quality issues, industry education and training, and export development.
- Nursery production of advanced stocker Murray cod in saline groundwater systems on dairy farms in north-central Victoria is at a ‘pre-commercial’ stage. Commercialisation strategies for these systems need to be developed and focus initially on the dairy farming sector in the Central Goulburn district of the Shepparton irrigation Region, but with scope for development in other districts of the region and other dairy regions in Victoria at a later date.
- Aquaculture use of recycled urban wastewater in Victoria is at a ‘pre-commercial’ stage. Ground-truthing of key assumptions explicit in the bio-economic modelling of aquaculture use of recycled urban wastewater needs to be undertaken, preferably as a demonstration site on a pilot, commercial scale with production trials at or adjacent to an existing water treatment plant. Market and value chain development and community consultation and communication needs to be undertaken on a regionally specific basis in partnership with relevant water authorities and industry investors.
ABS (2006a) Water Use on Australian Farms 2004-05. Australian Bureau of Statistics, Cat. No. 4618.0, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, ACT.
ABS (2006b) Water Account Australia 2004-05. Australian Bureau of Statistics, Cat. No. 4610.0, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, ACT.
DPI (2003) Aquaculture in Victoria Investment Analysis. Fisheries Victoria, department of Primary Industries, Melbourne, Victoria. 29pp.
DPI (2005) Water: Growing Sustainable Primary Industries. Department of Primary Industries, Melbourne, Victoria. 23pp.
DPI (2006) Irrigation Water Use Efficiency Benchmarking, Milestone Report 1 (draft). Primary Industries Research Victoria, Department of Primary Industries, Tatura, Victoria.
DSE (2004) Securing Our Water Future Together. Department of Sustainability and Environment, Melbourne, Victoria.
DSE (2006) State Water Report 2004/05. Department of Sustainability and Environment, Melbourne, Victoria.
Gavine, F. and Gooley, G. (2002) Integrated Agri-Aquaculture Systems Investment Portfolio. Marine and Freshwater Resources Institute, Technical Report No. 37, Department of Primary Industries, Alexandra. 49 pp.
Gooley, G. (2000) R&D Plan for Integrated Agri-Aquaculture Systems 1999-2004. Final Report, Project No. MFR-1A, Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, Publication No. 99/153, Canberra, ACT. 29 pp.
Gooley,G. and & Gavine, F. (2003) Integrated Agri-Aquaculture Systems: a Resource Handbook for Australian Industry Development. Final Report, Project No. MFR2A, Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, Publication No. 03/012, Canberra, ACT. 183 pp.
Gooley, G.J., McKinnon, L., Ingram, B. and Gasior, R. (2001) Multiple Use of Farmwater to Produce Fish. Final Report, Project No. DCM-1A, Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, Publication No. 00/182, Canberra, ACT. 98 pp.
Ingram, B.A. and De Silva, S.S. (Eds)(2004) Development of Intensive Commercial Aquaculture Production Technology for Murray Cod. Final Report to Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, Project No. 1999/328, Department of Primary Industries, Queenscliff, Victoria. 202 pp.
MDBC (2007) Murray-Darling Basin eResource. www.mdbc.gov.au.
Radcliffe, J.C. (2004) Water Recycling in Australia. Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, Parkville, Victoria. 233 pp.
SunRise 21 (2007) Mallee Water Trade and Irrigation Development 1975-2006 (draft). SunRise 21, 21 May, 2007. Mallee Catchment Management Authority, Irymple, Victoria.
6.1 Technical Reports
DPI (2006) Prospects for fish farming in large, on-farm irrigation storage dams. Our Rural Landscapes, Technical note 5, May, 2006, Department of Primary Industries, Melbourne, Victoria.
DPI (2006) Productive use of saline groundwater. Our Rural Landscapes, Technical note 6, May, 2006, Department of Primary Industries, Melbourne, Victoria.
Industry periodicals, consultancy reports:
O’Sullivan, D. (2006) Fish culture systems for large irrigation storage dams. Austasia Aquaculture, June/July, 2006, pp. 54-8.
Street Ryan (2007) Murray cod Aquaculturalists of Victoria. Business network program: Feasibility Assessment and Plan. Draft consultancy report to Department of Industry, Innovation and Regional Development. Street Ryan and Associates P/L, June 2007.
Gooley, G.J., Gavine, F.M. and Olsen, L. (Eds)(2006) Biological systems to improve quality and productivity of recycled urban wastewater: a case study from Our Rural Landscapes sub-project 1.3. Department of Primary Industries, Melbourne, Nov. 2006. 157 pp.
Gooley, G.J., Bailey, M., Abery, N. and Gavine, F. (2007a) Integrated agri-aquaculture systems approach to open-water farming of Murray cod in the Sunraysia Irrigation Region of Victoria (draft). Our Rural Landscapes sub-project 1.3, Case Study #1. Marine and Freshwater Systems Platform Internal Report, Primary Industries Research Victoria. Department of Primary Industries, Queenscliff, Victoria.
Gooley, G.J., Bailey, M., Abery, N. and Gavine, F. (2007b) Integrated agri-aquaculture systems approach to open-water farming of salmon and trout in the Sunraysia Irrigation Region of Victoria (draft). Our Rural Landscapes sub-project 1.3, Case Study #1. Marine and Freshwater Systems Platform Internal Report, Primary Industries Research Victoria. Department of Primary Industries, Queenscliff, Victoria.
Gooley, G.J., Abery, N., Bretherton, M. and Gavine, F. (2007c) Integrated agriaquaculture systems approach to nursery production of Murray cod in saline groundwater in the Shepparton Irrigation Region of Victoria; Part 1, Preliminary investigation and over-winter performance (draft). Our Rural Landscapes subproject 1.3, Case Study #2. Marine and Freshwater Systems Platform Internal Report, Primary Industries Research Victoria. Department of Primary Industries, Queenscliff, Victoria.
Gooley, G.J., Abery, N., Bretherton, M. and Gavine, F. (2007d) Integrated agriaquaculture systems approach to nursery production of Murray cod in saline groundwater in the Shepparton Irrigation Region of Victoria; Part 2, Spring/summer/autumn performance (draft). Our Rural Landscapes sub-project 1.3, Case Study #2. Marine and Freshwater Systems Platform Internal Report, Primary Industries Research Victoria. Department of Primary Industries, Queenscliff, Victoria.
Gooley, G.J., Bailey, M., Abery, N. and Ingram, B. (2007e) Business, market and industry network analysis of multi water-use systems approach to Murray cod aquaculture in Victorian irrigation regions. Our Rural Landscapes sub-project 1.3, Case Study #4. Marine and Freshwater Systems Platform Internal Report, Primary Industries Research Victoria. Department of Primary Industries, Queenscliff, Victoria.
Roache, T. (2007) Potential export market demand for Victorian Murray cod farmed in ‘open-water’ systems (draft). Report to Our Rural Landscapes sub-project 1.3, Naturally Victorian Initiative, Regional Agribusiness Development, Department of Primary Industries. 16 pp.
6.2 Communication and Evaluation
‘Multiple Water-Use Farm Walk’, Red Cliffs/Mildura ORL demonstration sites, in collaboration with farmer partners:
7 December 2005 and 13 December, 2006.
‘Saline Aquaculture Farm Walk’, Kyabram ORL demonstration site, in collaboration with farmer partners and Wyuna Local Area Planning Group:
21 June, 2006 and 4 April, 2007
‘Dollars in Dams: linking fish and horticulture for sustainable profit’, ORL 1.3 workshop, Sunraysia Institute of TAFE, in collaboration with ORL 4.1 ‘Innovation in ORL’, 27 April, 2005.
‘Murray cod aquaculture Marketing & Industry Networking & Development Workshop’, collaborative event between ORL 1.3 and Ecologically Sustainable Agriculture Initiative project, Attwood Convention Centre, April, 2005.
‘Multiple Use of Water: adding value and sustainability to water-use in agricultural landscapes’; oral presentations, DPI Young Scientists Forum, 2004, 2005.
‘Innovation in multi water-use through integration of agriculture and aquaculture’, DPI Innovation Conference, Melbourne, 5 May 2005.
‘Aquaculture Potential of Murray cod’, ORL Seminars: Murray cod Conservation and Aquaculture in Victoria, DPI Queenscliff, 26 July, 2005.
‘Science for the Future: Murray cod’, Department of Primary Industries exhibition, 2005-06 (poster presentation and interviews).
‘Adding value to water: open-water aquaculture of Murray cod in irrigation regions’, ORL Inland Open-Water Aquaculture Futures workshop, DPI Knoxfield, 27 April 2006. ‘Seafood biotech futures: R&D led agribusiness opportunities for Victoria?’.
Agricultural Biotechnology International Conference 2006, Melbourne, July 2006. ‘Fish, Fruit N’ Veg: A cost-effective and sustainable, multi water-use approach to irrigated horticulture; 5th International Symposium on Irrigation of Horticultural Crops, Mildura, August, 2006.
‘Open-water Murray cod production: a diversification opportunity for irrigated horticulture based on a multiple water-use approach’, poster presentation at Australian Aquaculture Conference, Adelaide, September, 2006.
‘Aquaculture Futures’, industry development consultation meeting and workshop, DPI Irymple, 13 December, 2006.
‘Multi water-use in Agricultural landscapes’, ORL: Final Showcase Forum, Spring St, Melbourne, 20 June, 2007.
International Food Exhibitions/Promotional Events:
‘Chefs of the Murray 2006’, promotional event by Mildura Tourism Authority, featuring ORL 1.3, Murray cod and celebrity chef, Stefano De Pieri, Grand Hotel, Mildura, May 15-21, 2006.
‘Food and Hotel Asia (Singapore)’, promotional event coordinated by CAS Agribusiness group with Naturally Victoria Pavilion, featuring ORL 1.3, open-water Murray cod, April, 2006.
‘Victorian Murray cod on the menu (Thailand)’, promotional event coordinated by CAS Agribusiness group, featuring ORL 1.3, open-water Murray cod, Grand Hyatt Hotel, Bangkok, May, 2006.
‘River Feast: the Murray comes to Melbourne’ promotional event by Environment Victoria, featuring ORL 1.3, Murray cod and celebrity chef, Stefano De Pieri, Southbank, Melbourne, 29 October, 2006.
‘Victorian Murray cod on the menu (Japan)’, promotional event coordinated by CAS Agribusiness group, featuring ORL 1.3, open-water Murray cod, 148 Hiroo Restaurant, Tokyo, May, 2006.
‘Foodex (Japan)’, promotional event coordinated by CAS Agribusiness group, featuring ORL 1.3, open-water Murray cod, and also restaurant promotional event at SALT restaurant, Tokyo, March 2007.
Phase 1: Project Definition (Getting into Aquaculture) Workshop; DPI, Irymple, 26 May, 2007; delivered by National Aquaculture Training Institute P/L in collaboration with ORL 1.3 and farmer partners (Thurla Farms P/L); component of nationally accredited Certificate IV and Diploma in Seafood Industry (Aquaculture)..
‘Northern agistment solves fish winter blues’, The Landscape, Our Rural Landscapes newsletter, Issue 1, Spring 2004.
‘Walking the Talk’ The Landscape, Our Rural Landscapes newsletter, Issue 3, Winter 2005.
‘Mildura a testing ground for innovative ideas’, article featuring ORL 1.3, Sunraysia Daily, 25 May, 2005.
‘Fresh is best: Victoria develops new aquaculture systems for Murray cod’, media release, Department of Primary industries, 23 May, 2005.
‘Aquaculture trials at Mildura’, Aqua News (Bi-monthly round-up of aquaculture issues), Issue 5, October 2005. Department of Primary Industries.
‘Murray cod on the menu in Singapore’, Food Partnerships newsletter, Department of Primary Industries, June 2006.
‘Diversification at Thurla; something’s fishy at Thurla Farms’, The Irrigator, January/February, 2006.
‘Inland aquaculture: is the time coming?’, Primary Voice, Department of Primary Industries, Autumn, 2006.
‘Our fish on world menu; fish farming worth big $$$’, Mildura Weekly, 2 March, 2007,p. 1&3.
‘Fish Tales’, Regional Express (REX) in-flight magazine, Issue 33, 2007.
‘So help me cod’, QANTAS in-flight magazine, June 2007.
‘Asian markets warm to Murray cod’, Food Partnerships newsletter, Department ofPrimary Industries, June 2007.
‘Bluelist Australia’, SBS travel show featuring ORL project and Murray cod at Thurla Farms, Red Cliffs, 6 June, 2007. Key consultative meetings/presentations/farm visits:
‘Key consultative meetings/presentations/farm visits:
Aquaculture Advisory Group’ R&D consultation meeting, Melbourne, 26 October 2005
Visit of DPI Secretary, Richard Bolt, ORL demonstration site, Thurla Farms, Red Cliffs, 28 may, 2007. Meetings with Swan Hill Rural City Council and Sunraysia Mallee Economic
Development, Mildura and Piangil, Oct./Nov. 2006 and Feb. 2007. Various meetings with and visits by Agriculture Development team, ORL Key Project Reference Group, Melbourne, Red Cliffs/Irymple and Kyabram.
6.3 Financial Reports
|Fund source||Yr1 (03/04)||Yr2 (04/05)||Yr3 (05/06)||Yr4 (06/07)|
Other 1: Goulburn-Broken Catchment Management Authority
Other 2: Trust Account revenue from fish sales
Project Title: Multi Water-Use in Agricultural Landscapes
Project MIS No 05190
Author Geoff Gooley, Marissa Bailey, Nigel Abery, Michael Bretherton and Fiona Gavine
Farmer partners: Red Cliffs – Tony Taylor & staff, Col & Travis Beasley & staff and Bruno Moras & staff; Kyabram – the Mueller family (Ray, Brad, Judy and Toni); Wyuna LAP - Doug Small and Brian Sullivan.
Project team support:: DPI Snobs Ck - Duncan Hill, Morgan Edwards, Brendan Larkin, Hui King Ho, Brett Ingram, Neil Hyatt and Matt Schwer; DPI Irymple – Andrew Brastrup, Daniel Mansell, Ken Sloan, Aaron Blume, Lyn Jacka and Scott McLean; DPI Tatura – Andy McAllister, Chelsea Nicholson and Rebecca Lukies.
Market development: DPI (CAS) Agribusiness Regional Development – David Shearer, Dominic O’Brien, Ross Clarke, Bryan Balmer, Tim Roache and Brendan Larkin.
Other DPI support: Key Project Manager - Greg Buchanan; ORL sub-project 2.3 – Brett Ingram and 4.1 – Ruth McGowan; NVI Cool Chain – Kaye Coates and Heather Haines; AD TSSD – Brendan Larkin; Agriculture Victoria Services P/L – Andrew Grace.
Other support:: Goulburn-Broken Catchment Management Authority – Ken Sampson; Mallee Catchment Management Authority – Glen Sutherland & Kelly Fyfe; Barwon Water – Peter Ashton and Mike Paine; Lower Murray Water – Peter Ebner and Owen Russell; Sunraysia Mallee Economic Development – Andrew Millen; Swan Hill Rural City Council – Gary Tepper; Grand Hotel, Mildura - Stefano de Pieri ; Yabby Blue P/L - George Faltiska; McRoberts Aquaculture – Ian McRoberts; Aquatunnel - Andrew Newton; Sunraysia Chickens.
Project MIS No 05190
Authorised by: Victorian Government 1 Treasury Place Melbourne, Victoria 3000 Australia
ISBN 978-1-74199-492-6 (Print) ISBN 978-1-74199-493-3 (Online)